Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tear gassed by federal agents

Saturday, 25 Jul, 2020

Portland mayor Ted Wheeler was teargassed as he met with demonstrators. The Portland City Council has voted to end cooperation between local police and federal law enforcement. This followed a lawsuit filed on behalf of journalists whom federal agents had hit with non-lethal "impact munitions".

"This order is a victory for the rule of law", Jann Carson, ACLU of Oregon's interim executive director, said in a statement.

Under the same order, from District Judge Michael H. Simon, federal agents in Portland can't threaten journalists or legal observers, nor can they seize camera equipment outside of a lawful arrest based on probable cause. After cautioning the crowd to leave, the officers used more tear gas, witnesses said.

But while Wheeler was addressing a group of protesters who were critical of the pace with which he was attempting to implement reforms, federal agents fired tear gas toward him and the demonstrators. They have faced fierce backlash as they clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.

Mr Horowitz said his office will coordinate its probe with the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog.

On June 1, federal agents cleared Lafayette Square, located north of the White House, of protesters before U.S. President Donald Trump and senior officials walked to a nearby church that had been vandalized. And city business leaders have condemned the mayor for not bringing the situation under control before the agents showed up.

Wheeler said on Twitter that he was moved by what he saw from protesters Wednesday evening and he "saw what it means when the federal government unleashes paramilitary forces against its own people".

Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf denied that federal agents were inflaming the situation.

Security forces have frequently tear-gassed and clubbed demonstrators during the unrest.

Demonstrators take part in a protest against racial inequality and police violence in Portland, Oregon, U.S., July 24, 2020 in this picture grab obtained from a social media video. As Wheeler left the protest zone about 12:40 a.m. Thursday, one person shouted that he should be there "every single night".

He said he had seen nothing that justified the police response. "Moms are here", and "I'm so disappointed in you - mom", the women have been shoved and tear-gassed by agents.

Wheeler's appearance in the protest zone came hours after state attorneys for OR urged another judge to issue a restraining order against the federal agents.

Two U.S. Inspectors General have agreed to investigate the actions of federal law enforcement officers amid protests in Portland following written requests from members of Oregon's Congressional delegation. Federal authorities have disputed those allegations.

The programme involves deploying federal law enforcement agents to assist local police in combating what the Justice Department has described as a "surge" of violent crime.

Last week, protesters said uniformed personnel without name tags or agency badges snatched young people off the streets into unmarked vans before eventually releasing them.