Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, was tear-gassed by the United States government while guarding a federal courthouse downtown on Wednesday
The protests in Portland, Oregon against police brutality are still going strong, with thousands of residents congregating daily demanding police reform as well as defunding, and an end to police brutality in general. However, late Wednesday night, early Thursday morning, one unlikely individual got caught up in the protests and was even tear-gassed by the United States government: The Mayor of Portland, Oregon, Ted Wheeler.
The politician was tear-gassed while he was reportedly standing by a fence at the downtown federal courthouse, attempting to protect it. Federal agents, sent in by President Donald Trump, released tear gas with the goal of deterring protestors. It isn’t clear if they knew the city’s mayor was in the crowd. One New York Times journalist, Mike Baker, caught it on camera, releasing several videos of the mayor on Twitter.
After being tear gassed in a crowd, Portland’s mayor and police commissioner Ted Wheeler denounced federal officers for “urban warfare.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 23, 2020
In the chip, Wheeler wears goggles and a face mask as he holds his noses and closes his eyes while tear gas passes by him.
“It stings. It’s hard to breathe. I can tell you with 100% honesty I saw nothing that provoked this response,” Wheeler tells the camera. “I’m not afraid but I am pissed off.” Despite being gassed and the fact that protestors were lighting fires around him, he doesn’t leave his post.
According to CNN, Wheeler, who has been opposed to the presence of federal agents in Portland, but has also faced much criticism from protestors, “joined crowds to listen to protesters and answer their questions in response to violent clashes between demonstrators and federal forces.”
“It is an unconstitutional occupation,” Wheeler told the crowd. “The tactics that have been used by our federal officers are abhorrent. They did not act with probable cause, people are not being told who they are being arrested by, and you’re been denied basic constitutional rights.”
Wheeler previously told the outlet that the federal agents were “clearly a waste of federal resources” and was making the situation “increasingly dangerous. “We did not ask the feds to be here. We do not want them here. They’re not helping the situation. They’re not appropriately trained, and we’re demanding that they leave,” he said.
However, many of the protestors felt that Wheeler’s appearance was a little too late, seeing as he waited to show up until day 55. In fact, according to multiple videos shared on Twitter, the Mayor wasn’t exactly a welcome guest at the protest.
Portland Mayor @tedwheeler has come to the protest center to answer questions. Protesters chanting for him to resign, or to use Portland police to protect them from the federal troops. It took guts for him to walk into this hostile crowd. He says he’s trying to get the feds out. pic.twitter.com/clhoA0C43V
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) July 23, 2020
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler has made an appearance at tonight’s protests. He is greeted by chants of, “Fuck Ted Wheeler”
“Ted Wheeler sucks fed tit”
“You fucking scum”
“Ted, I’ll fight you in the street right now”
“Ted shot us too”
“Ted Wheeler eats at chain restaurants” pic.twitter.com/D2gCypWmFJ
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 23, 2020
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is entering the protest crowd right now. People are already confronting him. pic.twitter.com/H7uJSGYlma
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) July 23, 2020
According to CNN, the protests dispersed sometime in the early morning hours, after Portland Police declared a riot due to the “violent conduct of the large group,” ordering everyone to leave. Portland Police said they made no arrests.