Portland Mayor Appears to Be Teargassed by Federal Officers

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has accused federal officers deployed to his city of "urban warfare" after he appeared to be teargassed more than once while holding discussions with protesters downtown.

In video posted on Twitter by Mike Baker, a correspondent for The New York Times, Wheeler could be seen wearing goggles and a mask, describing the pain he felt after being hit with what he believed to be tear gas.

"It stings. It's hard to breathe," the Portland mayor told Baker.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says the tear gas stings. Says egregious overreaction from feds. Calls it urban warfare. pic.twitter.com/hrRICiNGHn

— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) July 23, 2020

The mayor said he was "not afraid," but he was "p***** off," as he saw no reason for federal officers to be teargassing protesters.

"I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing that provoked this response," Wheeler said.

"This is not a de-esclation strategy. This is flat-out urban warfare and it's being wrought on the people of this country by the President of the United States and it's got to stop right now. This is a threat to our democracy," he said.

Not long after, however, Wheeler appeared to be hit with teargas a second time, with Baker posting video showing the mayor "overcome with another volley of federal tear gas."

The mayor can be seen covering his mouth, appearing to be surrounded by the substance, before taking a drink of water.

Wheeler had met with protesters on Wednesday evening, holding discussions that went on into the night.

According to The Oregonian, more than 2,000 demonstrators had gathered in the area, with Wheeler receiving mixed responses to his presence.

Some protesters, the newspaper reported, greeted Wheeler by chanting his name "preceded by an expletive," while others shouted to drown out his message.

There were several instances where demonstrators were reported to have thrown objects at Wheeler, with one individual dumping a bag of what appeared to be tear gas canisters in front of the mayor as he made his way to the protest.

Despite a mixed response to his presence, Wheeler sought to thank demonstrators for making their opposition to the Trump administration's "occupation of our city" heard.

"It is an unconstitutional occupation. The tactics that are being used by our federal officers are abhorrent, they do not act with probable cause, people are not being told who they are being arrested by, and they're being denied basic constitutional rights," he said, in video captured by KGW News.

Wheeler has been opposed to the Trump administration's deployment of federal officers to Portland since they arrived in early July.

This is a developing story and it will be updated as more information becomes available.

Feds Portland
Federal officers operate amid tear gas while clearing the street in front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 21, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler appeared to be teargassed while meeting with protesters. Paula Bronstein/Getty