Claims that "Antifa" or far-left activists have been arrested for setting fires in Oregon, a state hit by devastating wildfires, are false

 Newswise
21-Sep-2020 12:30 PM EDT, by Newswise

Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise

Truthfulness: False

Claim:

Oregon is on fire! Pallet Company in Oregon City confirmed Antifa arsonist on camera. Douglas County Sheriff has 6 ANTIFA arsonists in custody. Many fires in Oregon. Obviously there are more to track down and arrest. Governor Kate Brown built this.

Claim Publisher and Date: Twitter (Paul Romero Jr among others) on 2020-09-09

Widely shared posts on social media claim members of Antifa, the unstructured far-left movement, have been arrested for setting wildfires in Oregon. This misinformation was even spread by the popular Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan (who has since apologized). These claims are false. law enforcement officers from areas where the arrests were allegedly made have denied they took place, and said calls about the claims are hampering operations.

As reported by W.G. Dunlop, AFP USA

The tweet was spread as a screenshot on Facebook here and here and on Instagram here.

But the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post: “Our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires.”

And Sergeant David Edwins of the Oregon City Police Department told AFP by phone: “As far as the actual city limits go, we have no information on a pallet company having any arson done to it.” 

A screenshot of a Facebook post taken on September 11, 2020

Oregon and other West Coast states are facing wildfires that have left more than two dozen people dead.

Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is a structureless movement which says it is dedicated to fighting fascism online and in public. It has come under increased scrutiny -- particularly from President Donald Trump -- during recent protests against police violence and racism across the US.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Portland office denounced “conspiracy theories and misinformation” that “take valuable resources away (from) local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control.”

“FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue,” it said in a statement.

Read more here

 

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