Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed by the federal government Wednesday night. The attack came as protests have raged on in the city.
It was not a great night for Wheeler, a Democrat who has come under fire from the protesters and the President for his handling of the protests and riots the last two months. He started off having to address a crowd calling for his resignation.
Then federal agents declared the protest a riot and started firing tear gas into the crowd.
WATCH: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and protesters were tear-gassed by federal officers at a fence guarding a downtow… https://t.co/KDNgoQO2jv— CBS News (@CBS News)1595507407.0
While he says he stands with the public in the removal of federal agents from the city, he didn't speak up when local police were also using riot tactics on protesters, including tear gas.
On the night in question, Wheeler said he would protest with the people for 90 minutes. However, people weren't happy with this, with many calling for his resignation.
Local activist and journalist, Robert Evans, covered the situation.
It is a day that ends in Y, so of course I am headed out to get shot at by federal troops. Tonight is famously the… https://t.co/xSoFtcrrRx— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans))1595478036.0
The crowd is projecting a series of demands on the wall of the Justice Center. I do not think Ted is going to like… https://t.co/AClPMg02bX— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans))1595478490.0
Here we see Ted Wheeler starting his walk of shame up to the podium under a hail of boos. https://t.co/WuPeo8Ddwd— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans))1595482929.0
I am still out in front of the Federal Courthouse, where the feds just sallied out. They were forced back inside by… https://t.co/0puumCdiJI— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans))1595489482.0
Wheeler began his speech:
"I want to thank the thousands of you who have come out to oppose the Trump administration's occupation of this city. The reason this is important is it is not just happening in Portland ... we're on the front line here in Portland."
The mayor was booed through portions of his speech, though he did get a cheer when he said "Black Lives Matter."
The crowd also chanted insulting names, and called for his resignation.
Wheeler's speech was cut short around 12:30AM when federal agents declared the protest a riot. They announced this and asked people to leave several times.
The crowd was tear-gassed, including Mayor Wheeler, which some felt was poetic for his support of local police doing the same.
@DallasPolitics1 @ABCPolitics Police overreach and brutality. For example: tear gassing people protesting police brutality.— Boomer59 (@Boomer59)1595513921.0
@ABCPolitics The mayor was there and said that nothing was happening to justify the federal troops attacking the crowd..— Joseph Hoagbin (@Joseph Hoagbin)1595515258.0
@nytimes Thanks Ted, I think people mentioned this to you about PPB around 6 weeks ago too— the search for intelligent life (@the search for intelligent life)1595510156.0
Things have been escalating in Portland, with the city seeing extreme tactics employed on the nightly protests. Under the claim of the city being taken over by violent anarchists, the Department of Homeland Security has sent in federal agents to bring order.
However, this order looks a lot different from standard police procedure. There are reports of people being taken off the street by men who refuse to identify themselves, not told why they were arrested, and later let go.
The federal agents have used violent tactics with little to no provocation. In one instance, they broke a Navy veteran's hand and pepper sprayed his face, despite the man not engaging in any violent acts himself.
How has the DHS justified their extreme tactics in the city? By citing graffiti and broken windows performed by "violent anarchists" as a proof of a need for a militarized police force.
The galvanized protests in the wake of federal interference in the city has led to debate over the situation.
@TheRightMelissa @CBSNews That’s what you call attacking? They were asking him questions. None of that screams “ana… https://t.co/5od1t1K4Hv— Dirrevarent (@Dirrevarent)1595545552.0
@HTAaron2 @nytimes you don't think that people in the rest of the country seeing the mayor get tear gassed is an im… https://t.co/F7BNV4UFt9— no cops, no prisons (@no cops, no prisons)1595513640.0
@JohnKaprielian @nytimes Our police are all for gassing us.....why do you think we’re protesting?— mfpdx (@mfpdx)1595518529.0
@Event3Horizon @nytimes arrest the cops— j2y3 (@j2y3)1595509292.0
Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf has been trying to justify the actions taken by the federal officers.
He's been quoted saying:
"These highly specialized units that the commissioner talked about have received advanced training. This is what they do."
"These officers are not stormtroopers. They're not the Gestapo, as some have described them. That description is offensive and hyperbolic, and it's dishonest."
Meanwhile, the "police" who "secretly" detain people for no stated reason continue to operate in Portland, with plans to spread to other cities.