Portland City Hall
Portland City Hall
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A Portland City Council candidate’s social media post containing the image of a noose has been brought to the attention of police, according to Mayor Kate Snyder.

Snyder said the post – made Monday morning by at-large candidate Richard Ward – was brought to her attention by a constituent. It has since been shared to all city councilors, interim City Manager Danielle West, interim Corporation Counsel Jen Thompson, and the police.

“We’re looking to hear back from the police department anything they are able to offer about what it means and what it could mean for tomorrow,” Snyder said, referencing that Ward made his post the day before Election Day.

In addition to having the image of the noose, Ward’s post appeared to promote his documented anti-Covid-19 vaccine theories, using phrases such as “mandated you inject their poison” and “infected nursing homes on purpose.” The image also states “we will show no mercy.”

Snyder called the situation “very upsetting,” adding that “you have to take everything seriously.”

“I’m so saddened that this is where we are right now,” Snyder said.

City Councilor April Fournier called Ward’s post “incredibly harmful” to Black residents as well as Indigenous people.

“This is a visual reminder of generations that were haunted by that, and had family members that had their lives taken by a noose,” Fournier said.

Fournier denounced Ward’s post on her own social media page Monday morning.

“This is the hate, the intolerance, the racism and the violence that we CANNOT and WILL NOT tolerate in our city,” wrote Fournier, a member of the Dine’ Navajo nation and the first Indigenous councilor in Portland’s history. “But it takes more than my voice and the voices of those targeted to get the powers that be and the public to pay attention.”

In her post, Fournier implored citizens to “(c)heck on your electeds and candidates of color today. We are NOT OK.”

Ward, who is white, has a history of using social media to promote conspiracy theories and misinformation. He has referred to those arrested at the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as “political prisoners” and “patriots,” promoted conspiracist Alex Jones, posted or otherwise boosted messages that “all lives matter” and “white lives matter” and seemingly advocated violence against Democrats and liberal politicians.

Ward is running against incumbent candidate Pious Ali and Aqeel Mohialdeen.

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