Republican congressional candidate Alek Skarlatos criticized his Democratic opponent Rep. Peter DeFazio this week, saying he had remained silent in response to last weekend’s rioting in Eugene.

In a press release Wednesday, Skarlatos alleged that DeFazio has called for defunding the police and said the congressman “has remained silent on the violent mobs which have now found their way to the 4th Congressional District.”

“By ignoring the actions of rioters in his own district, DeFazio is encouraging the destruction of our own communities,” Skarlatos said.

DeFazio has spoken multiple times about a need for police reform in response to the killing of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis man whose death at the hands of police has sparked months of both peaceful protests and rioting in cities across America. The officer who killed Floyd has been charged with murder.

DeFazio has called for police reforms such as a ban on choke holds like the one that resulted in Floyd’s death, and called for transparency around allegations of misconduct about police, rather than for defunding the police.

Speaking with KEZI in June about his support for the Justice in Policing Act, for example, DeFazio said, “This does not defund the police. It is not anti-policing. It is reforming. It’s going to help both sides in the future. Both our police, who are necessary, and our communities."

On Thursday, DeFazio emailed a statement about the Eugene riots and also mentioned the Portland riots, which he had previously publicly addressed.

“I strongly denounce the actions of a small group of anarchists and other destructive individuals in Portland and Eugene who have used the cover of legitimate lawful Black Lives Matter protests to sow destruction and division,” DeFazio said.

But he also took the federal government to task for its response to weeks of rioting in Portland.

“In Portland, unmarked federal agents have detained Oregonians without cause, without reading people their rights or following due process, and have targeted protestors exercising rights protected under the Constitution. These are the actions of an authoritarian regime, not an open democracy,” DeFazio said.

“I applaud Governor (Kate) Brown’s successful negotiation with the federal government to remove federal agents from Portland and have the local police provide law enforcement for federal buildings,” he said.

Weekend protests at the U.S. Courthouse in Eugene devolved into clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and All Lives Matter counter-protesters, and ended in violence, property destruction and nine arrests.

Another incident marred by violence took place in the Thurston neighborhood of Springfield Wednesday, where The Register-Guard reported a protest was sparked by a hanged skeleton display in a resident’s yard.

On Thursday, Skarlatos issued yet another press release broadening his attacks to “Left Wing politicians,” saying they had become a “mob squad” enabling rioters. He specifically cited Gov. Brown and Congressmen Jerry Nadler, D-New York, but did not mention DeFazio.

“Violent actors are being egged on by irresponsible politicians who are seeking to use this violence and chaos to their benefit,” Skarlatos said. “This ‘Mob Squad,’ which also fully supports defunding police, needs to be voted out of office and replaced with leaders who will fight and stand by the people of Oregon, not with the Mob.”

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(20) comments

Caila

This young man has a future ahead of him. I am proud of him! His future begins at the bottom where all great and powerful people should start in order to be educated fully! In the meantime, I will vote for DeFazio. It has been a long time since we have had a titled person working for our nation FROM Oregon!

Momos

Skarlatos didn't write this stuff. These are not his words. He gets it from people like "Lyin' Ted" Cruz and just puts it out there. Someday he'll look back and realize he'd been used as a tool to spread lies and hate. They won't even know his name when this is over.

Umpquabob

WOW! The dumocrats are out in force.

sectorstar

Fine example of roseburg mentality right here. If someone disagrees with you politically, that must mean they're the opposite party. What if I told you that you can agree/disagree with things that one person or political party says/does and still not be affiliated with them? That concept is way too hard for people to accept here.

Plugtuglug

Hey Bob, you are a class act and should educate yourself instead of playing tough guy. From one prominent local Republican and their family, I can assure you we WILL NOT be supporting the party this election.

Better get out your Name Calling book 📖 as surely we are now Democrats or Liberals or Antifa or Snowflakes or Violent Protestors or Traitors or Commi’s or whatever else you are told.

smedleyb

I watched the debate at the Holiday Inn for County Commissioner. My impression of Skarlatos was that "there was no there there". There was nothing in his presentation that made me think he was a good candidate for political office.

CitizenJoe

Yes! He is poorly educated, vacuous, and gullible. I expect great things of him in the Rethuglican Party.

Keepin it Real

I could only imagine how much more not there he would have been without people texting him the answers to the questions asked.

Really?

👍 It does my heart good to read the comments and know there are sensible people in Roseburg. I am stilled being shocked daily at how easy it is for the lies to roll off of certain people. Peter DeFazio has always had our best interest in the forefront and this inexperience young man Alex really has NO idea what is important to the citizens. Yes, will give kudos to his heroic gesture on the train and good for him to be in a dance competition on tv but really to think he could replace DeFazio is ridiculous and rather annoying how he is going about it. Have to wonder if the GOP can tell the truth anymore.

Plugtuglug

Nice way to stay partisan Mr Skarlatos. You are a freshman in your political career yet you are showing your true colors by lying to get ahead. You almost had my vote, but with the FoxNews sound bites you wish to use, we will surely be placing ours near a candidate more aligned with American values. You may have been a hero once, which is admired, however playing hero to a dying party is not a smart decision.

Neutralcomment

Why is it impossible for republican candidates to make good faith arguments. All he can do is repeat false talking points. He has no policy expertise, he has no political experience, and he's AGAIN arguing in bad faith which leads me to believe that he's dishonest to the core, just like the people who put him there.

They can't attack Defazio with facts, so they make up their own.

Connerth

I would like to know if Alek's father has paid all the back property taxes he owes Douglas County. The County is going broke, services are being cut yet this guy seems entitled to run for Congress !

CitizenJoe

A couple of points that Alek Skarlatos might not be aware of: many of the people who committed significant property damage at protests across the country have been outed as right-wingers, boogaloo boys (including one boogaloo boy pedophile), and so on; most of the violence that was life-threatening (like killing a person with a rifle, or driving a vehicle into a crowd) was committed against the protesters, not by them; most of the protesters were peaceful. Skarlatos would be well advised to examine evidence that contradicts his world view--as should we all: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe

Plugtuglug

This is what Republicans want everyone to believe. However, intelligent Republicans and all other political constituents who have watched this transpire for an entire four years, wont let their blood, sweat and tears given to this great country, go in vain.

whizbang

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/feds-unmarked-vans-portland/

Keepin it Real

https://youtu.be/Wt8GaE1xNa0

Rise722

Keepin it Real...perhaps you'd like to have enough respect to spell the person's name correctly, if you are referring to them... it is Alek....not Alex...

Plugtuglug

That is all you gleam from peoples opinions to the hijacking of our government? You ever think maybe I dunno, spell check might have played a part? How about you getting off your high horse and Rise (pun intended) up to educate yourself on what is really occurring with this country Ryse (uh oh, misspelled). Respect is what you lack in your response, yet you demand respect for a simple error. Wake up!

Keepin it Real

That was intentional. I have no respect for him, as he is merely a puppet that if had to, couldn’t talk himself out of a paper bag without instructions.

Keepin it Real

I’m sorry, who is this Alex person? I can’t believe the article didn’t mention his celebrity or “hero” status. #SpencerGo!

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