The sheriff’s deputy in Clackamas County, Oregon was suspended Saturday after the video showed him spreading unsubstantiated rumors that anti-fascist activists had started the fires now ravaging the state.
The video shows the deputy – an unidentified bald man who goes by the name of Mark – saying, “The antifa motherfuckers are causing hell, and there are many lives at stake and many people’s property at stake because these guys have had some revenge. “He also warns that” antifa or other crazy leftists “attack the firefighters.
Craig Roberts, the Clackamas County Sheriff, said in a statement to Oregon Public Broadcasting: “As soon as I was informed of this incident, I moved quickly to put this deputy on leave while we investigate. The mission of the sheriff̵
The nearby Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department issued a similar warning on reports of groups of armed citizens illegally establishing checkpoints and detaining passers-by. The department did not respond to a request for comment that the illegal detentions were linked to conspiracy theories about antifa.
“While we understand that their intent is to keep the community safe, it is never legal to block a public road or force other citizens to stop. This type of action increases the risk of injury to anyone in one of these roadblocks, “the announcement reads.
The rumors of anti-fascist arsonists have no basis on available facts and law enforcement has had to work overtime to dispel conspiracy theories, which add chaos to an already uncertain situation and divert law enforcement resources from assistance to needy residents. One million acres were burned in Oregon fires this fire season, the highest ever recorded. The fires consumed entire cities and killed more than a dozen people, with dozens of others missing. A man, described by police as a “local transient”, was charged with arson in connection with a fire. Local authorities say the 41-year-old has no known ties to anti-fascist activists.
Earlier this week, as smoke enveloped cities along the west coast in darkness, Governor Kate Brown warned, “We expect to see a great deal of losses, both in facilities and in human lives. This could be the largest loss of life and property from a fire in the history of our state. “