Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was followed and nearly assaulted by protesters and tear gassed by federal police on Wednesday night as he attempted to show solidarity with the anti-police, Black Lives Matter protesters in his city.
Following days of federal police attempting to pacify the civil unrest in Portland, the mayor attempted to attend the protests on the “front line” to show solidarity with those in attendance against the federal government’s presence in the city.
Wheeler was attempting to hold “listening sessions” with protesters during the tumultuous scene as federal police began firing tear gas into the crowd to move them out of the public space.
Here's the moment Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear gassed by the U.S. government.
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) July 23, 2020
As the mayor later attempted to leave the scene, escorted by security, he was followed by a large group of protesters who were apparently unhappy with his presence at the protest.
Throughout the 30-second video, posted by Andy Ngo to Twitter, “Angry protesters follow and try to assault” Wheeler as his security team holds them back, “despite his support on the front lines of the riot.”
At the end of the video, the protesters attempt to follow Wheeler “inside the building” but are “pushed back by Wheeler’s security.”
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. pic.twitter.com/xUydADlJEv
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020
Around the same time Wheeler left the scene, Portland police declared the event a riot and ordered citizens to “disperse immediately.”
“Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest or citation,” wrote the Portland Police Department. “Or riot control agents, including, but not limited to, tear gas and/or impact weapons.”
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.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) July 23, 2020
Wheeler, a Democrat, told the media that it was the first time he has been tear gassed. He has yet to respond to the incident on social media, but has repeatedly sided with protesters and rioters against the federal government.
Last night’s violence marks 55 nights of nonstop civil unrest in the city following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.