Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed while standing with protesters outside of the federal courthouse, which has been the scene of more than 50 days of protests. Wheeler said he didn't believe the protesters did anything to provoke federal agents to use tear gas to disperse the crowd.
"It stings. It's hard to breathe. I can tell you with 100% honesty I saw nothing that provoked this response," Wheeler told a reporter. "I'm not afraid, but I am pissed off."
Earlier on Wednesday (July 22), Wheeler addressed the crowd and told demonstrators he wanted to see the federal officers leave the city.
"It is an unconstitutional occupation. The tactics that have been used by our federal officers are abhorrent. They did not act with probable cause. People are not being told who they are being arrested by, and you've been denied basic constitutional rights," the mayor said.
He added that the show of force by federal agents was unacceptable.
"That is a use of police force, federal police force for political ends," Wheeler said. "That is not an acceptable solution anywhere in America."
The crowd didn't like everything Wheeler had to say. When he said he did not want to disband the police department, he was met with a loud chorus of boos and chants to resign.
Earlier in the day, the Portland City Council voted to end cooperation between the city's police and federal agencies.
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