The deputy sheriff’s deputy in Clackamas County, Oregon was suspended on Saturday after video showed him spreading unsubstantiated rumors that anti-fascist activists had started the wildfires that are now ravaging the state.
The video shows the proxy – an unknown bald man who calls himself Mark – who says, “Antifa mothers-in-law cause hell, and it is about many lives and many people’s property because these people have a vengeance. ”He also warns of” Antifa or other crazy leftists “attacking firefighters.
Craig Roberts, the Clackamas County Sheriff, said in a statement to Oregon Public Broadcasting: “As soon as I became aware of this incident, I acted quickly to put this deputy on leave while we investigate. The Sheriff̵
The nearby Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department issued a similar warning about reports of groups of armed citizens illegally setting up checkpoints and arresting passers-by. The department didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether the illegal stops were related to conspiracy theories related to antifa.
“While we understand their intent is to protect the community, 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 at one of these roadblocks, ”the announcement said.
Even Facebook responded to joke claims about forest fires of political origin. In a statement on Saturday, Andy Stone, director of political communications for the social media giant, said: “We are removing false claims that the Oregon wildfires were started by certain groups. This is based on confirmation from law enforcement agencies that these rumors are forcing local fire and law enforcement agencies to divert resources away from fire fighting and protecting the public. “
Rumors of anti-fascist arsonists have no basis on the facts available, and law enforcement agencies have had to work overtime to dispel the conspiracy theories that are wreaking havoc on an already unsafe situation and diverting law enforcement resources from assisting residents in need. A million acres burned in the Oregon forest fires this forest season, the most ever recorded. The flames consumed entire cities and killed more than a dozen people, with dozens more reported missing. A man known by police as a “local transient” has been charged with arson related to a fire. Local authorities say the 41-year-old has no known association with anti-fascist activists.
Earlier this week, as Rauch shrouded cities along the west coast in darkness, Governor Kate Brown warned: “We expect great losses in both structures and human life. This could be the greatest loss of life and property due to wildfire in our state’s history. “