Portland mayor is booed by crowd, teargassed by agents as he tries to join protest

Yahoo reports Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joined the protests in Oregon’s largest city as demonstrators continued to clash with Department of Homeland Security forces deployed by the Trump administration near the federal courthouse.

It didn’t go well for Wheeler, who was hit by tear gas from the officers and jeered by the protesters. Demonstrators frustrated with his handling of the city’s police department and his belated show of support for the protests chanted “F*** Ted Wheeler” and called on him to resign. The protests have been occurring since late May following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Ted, you’re the mayor. You’re in charge. We’re fighting out here, and you’re not. … We need you to help us or get out of the way,” musician and activist Mac Smiff told Wheeler. “If you don’t, it’s going to be four more years of hell. It’s going to be four more years of this. We’re going to be out here every night.”

As Wheeler was being booed, he was also hit by tear gas.

“I’m not going to lie — it stings; it’s hard to breathe,” Wheeler, a Democrat, told the New York Times. “And I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.

“A lot of these people hate my guts,” said Wheeler of the crowd, but he noted they were unified in their desire for the federal presence to withdraw, adding, “President Trump needs to focus on coronavirus and get his troops out of the city. My biggest fear is that somebody’s going to die. I want them to leave. This is going to come to a city near you if we don’t stop it.”

Wheeler is not the first local official to be teargassed by federal officers. Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran posted photos after she was among the demonstrators gassed over the weekend.

“I was there Saturday and Sunday, and the crowd was by and large very peaceful, chanting,” Meieran told Yahoo News. “And then out of the blue there was, the federal forces came out, and without any warning, without any discrimination of targets, just started throwing canisters of tear gas into the street.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Portland City Council passed a resolution barring the local police from coordinating with federal law enforcement, whose presence has been repudiated by everyone from city officials and the governor to the state’s congressional delegation and prominent national Democrats.

City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has been critical of Wheeler’s handling of the police force and has asked control to be transferred to her.

“Though we didn’t bring in the federal people, it is clear the Portland Police Association welcomed their involvement as well as the Portland Police Bureau,” said Hardesty. “And as well as the mayor — because I’ve heard the mayor say he also welcomed their involvement.”

On Wednesday, Hardesty claimed that fires in the area were “police action, and they’re sending saboteurs and provocateurs into peaceful crowds.” She did not provide evidence of these claims and later apologized.

Per TCO, on the same night a riot was declared and fires set near the federal courthouse, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler claimed “I saw nothing that provoked this response” when asked about his thoughts on federal law enforcement deploying tear gas.

Per Andy Ngo and video footage, the building had been set on fire and rioters were throwing explosives.

On this same night Portland Police declared:

Police and fire units responding to reports of a fire started by protestors at a business in the 1400 block of E Olive Way.

Protestors have now broken into a business in the 1100 block of Pike Street and are setting merchandise on fire. Please avoid the area if possible.

A riot has been declared outside the Justice Center. Disperse to the north and/or west. Disperse immediately. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest or citation, or riot control agents, including, but not limited to, tear gas and/or impact weapons.

Arson attack caught on video:

.@tedwheeler stands in tear gas to support protesters during riot outside the Portland federal courthouse. He is protected by a large security detail. #PortlandRiots

Portland Mayor @tedwheeler leaves riot and is followed by an angry mob despite expressing support for them. He has at least five men as part of his private security detail. #PortlandRiots

Rioters curse at Portland Mayor @tedwheeler and throw water at him. He’s protected by a large security team. He came out to support the protest. #PortlandRiots

Portland mayor @tedwheeler is escorted to safety by his security team. Angry protesters follow and try to assault him despite his support on the front lines of the riot. They try to go inside the building but is pushed back by Wheeler’s security.