Felony riot suspect: Reed whiz kid, faculty brat

An alert reader points me to an interesting story. A person accused of being one of the cretins smashing stuff up in downtown Portland last weekend is a Reed College senior named Theo Matthee-O'Brien, according to published reports. They say he's got seven felony charges racked up so far. 

The mayor, Dud Wheeler, wants him expelled. Reed says it can't do anything to him until his criminal case is resolved.

Which sounds utterly false to me. Reed probably thinks it's going to give him his diploma and hustle him back to Metuchen, N.J. before the heat gets turned up much higher on them. I sure hope that doesn't happen. This fellow needs some jail time, apparently.

He's been arrested on several other occasions in connection with the crap downtown. 

Reed seems to be glorifying him. Here's an excerpt from a story in the student newspaper from just a few months ago:

Matthee-O’Brien, who is a white man, initially viewed the protests cynically until he went out and participated himself. “I was a little reluctant to go,” Matthee-O’Brien said. “I think before then, I was very cynical about activism and protest, because it was a very easy position to have to say that this is not gonna change anything, therefore, I don't need to participate. But then I just went one night… And it felt very important for me to continue going.”...

For his part, Matthee-O’Brien reflected on how his whiteness affected his expectations for the protests and how they changed while he was on the ground. “[White people are] taught a particular view of how the state is supposed to interact with us and what we deserve and that is something really easy to hold on to in the face of these protests on the outside,” Matthee-O’Brien said. “But then when you're a part of that, and you're confronted with, like, the incredible unfairness of it… I think that that's incredibly profound.” 

He earned a perfect score on the AP English exam a few years back, but from all appearances he's turned into a real idiot at Reed. I know a lot of people who would like to see him learn some lessons that they don't teach in college.

Could he be related to Rudi Matthee, the history professor at the University of Delaware? And to Ruth O'Brien, the political science professor at City University of New York? If so, they must be so proud.

But anyway, when you wonder "Who are these jerks?" there ya go.

UPDATE, late June: As I predicted here, Reed gave him his diploma.


  1. His booking photos have a very smug "punchable face" vibe going.

  2. Gandhi would have decked him.


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