The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was hit with tear gas in the middle of his own city Wednesday night after federal officers deployed tear gas into a crowd of protesters that Mr. Wheeler had joined outside the federal courthouse.
Mr. Wheeler, who struggled to put on goggles while denouncing what he called the “urban warfare” tactic of the federal agents, said he was outraged by the use of tear gas and that it was only making protesters more angry.
“I’m not going to lie — it stings; it’s hard to breathe,” … “And I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.”- Mayor Wheeler
Mayor Wheeler has also long been the target of Portland protesters infuriated by the city police’s own use of tear gas, which was persistent until a federal judge ordered the city to use it only when there was a safety issue. As Mr. Wheeler went through the crowds on Wednesday, some threw objects in his direction, and others called for his resignation, chanting, “Tear Gas Teddy”, with protesters mocking him and asking how does it feel.
The mayor has called for federal agents to leave the city after they arrived to subdue the city’s long-running unrest. Dressed in camouflage and tactical gear and unleashing tear gas, federal officers have clashed violently with protesters and pulled some people into unmarked vans in what state governor Kate Brown called it a blatant abuse of power.