/Portland mayor tear gassed by federal agents at protest – Business Insider

Portland mayor tear gassed by federal agents at protest – Business Insider


  • Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, was tear-gassed by federal agents while visiting protesters outside a federal courthouse Wednesday night.
  • Wheeler, a Democrat, has decried the heavy-handed tactics used by the federal officials sent to quell his city’s demonstrations and has called on them to leave.
  • But Wheeler also encountered hostility and boos from protesters as he sought to address them earlier in the night, CBS News and the Associated Press reported.
  • He has been criticized for failing to address the violent tactics used by Portland’s local police during the weekslong protests spurred by the death of George Floyd.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, was tear-gassed by federal agents outside a courthouse building in his city Wednesday night while visiting protesters.

Video from Wednesday night’s protest by the New York Times reporter Mike Baker shows Wheeler, a Democrat, wearing a protective eye mask and a COVID-19 face mask, holding his mouth and nose and coughing as clouds of tear gas rolled across the protesters.

The sound of what appeared to be flash-bang grenades could also be heard in the background.

Protests in the Oregon city have been going on for almost two months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. Clashes between protesters and federal agents deployed by President Donald Trump to quell the unrest have escalated for over a week.

On Wednesday, protesters lit fires in an area between where they were gathered and the courthouse where federal agents were situated, and the agents responded with tear gas and stun grenades, the Associated Press reported, citing the police.

It was not immediately clear whether the federal law-enforcement officers knew Wheeler was among the demonstrators at the time.

“It’s hard to breathe — it’s a lot harder to breathe than I thought,” Wheeler told The Washington Post afterward of his exposure to tear gas. “This is abhorrent. This is beneath us.”

Hostility from both sides

But Wheeler also encountered hostility from protesters earlier in the night as he attempted to address them, CBS News reported, but was booed and jeered.

He has been accused of failing to crack down on violent tactics, including the use of tear gas, by Portland police officers in their clashes with demonstrators in the early weeks of the Floyd protests, the local news station KOIN reported.

For more than a week, the courthouse has been the scene of clashes between federal agents and protesters, with the presence of the agents denounced by city officials including Wheeler in an extraordinary rift between federal and state authorities.

The Department of Homeland Security said the agents were deployed to protect federal property and quell criminality.

At a Tuesday press conference, the acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, said the agents were deployed because the city took “little to no action” against protesters breaking the law.

portland oregon mayor ted wheeler

Wheeler in January 2017.

Associated Press/Don Ryan


Wheeler and other officials at both city and state levels have decried the heavy-handed tactics used by the agents, who have repeatedly used tear gas against demonstrators, including a group of women who formed human chains — dubbed a “wall of moms” — to protect young protesters.

The agents have also been accused of seizing protesters from the streets and arresting them while wearing unmarked uniforms, both violations of law-enforcement norms.

Wheeler told CNN on Sunday that the federal agents’ tactics had exacerbated the city’s protests, which he said had been dying down before the deployment of the agents.

He, alongside other American mayors, have called for the agents to leave the city.

Trump has instead suggested he will send federal agents into other Democrat-controlled cities to quell violence, despite local authorities saying their presence is not welcome. Wolf, the acting DHS chief, also said he had the authority to deploy more feds into cities, adding: “I don’t need invitations.”

Loading Something is loading.
Original Source