Portland Mayor Tear-Gassed by Federal Agents

It's not clear if they knew he was in the crowd
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 23, 2020 2:45 AM CDT
Updated Jul 23, 2020 5:55 AM CDT
Portland Mayor Tear-Gassed by Federal Agents
Federal officers use chemical irritants and crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The mayor of Portland, Oregon, was tear-gassed by the US government late Wednesday as he stood at a fence guarding a federal courthouse during another night of protests against the presence of federal agents sent by President Trump to quell unrest in the city. Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, said it was the first time he’d been tear-gassed and appeared slightly dazed and coughed as he put on a pair of goggles someone handed him and drank water. He didn't leave his spot at the front, however, and continued to take gas. Around Wheeler, the protest raged, with demonstrators lighting a large fire in the space between the fence and the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and the pop-pop-pop of federal agents deploying tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd, the AP reports.

It wasn't immediately clear if the federal agents knew Wheeler was in the crowd when they used the tear gas. Earlier in the night, Wheeler was mostly jeered as he tried to rally demonstrators who have clashed nightly with federal agents but was briefly applauded when he shouted "Black Lives Matter" and pumped his fist in the air. The mayor has opposed federal agents’ presence in Oregon’s largest city, but he has faced harsh criticism from many sides. "I want to thank the thousands of you who have come out to oppose the Trump administration’s occupation of this city," Wheeler told hundreds of people gathered downtown near the federal courthouse. Protesters in the crowd held signs aloft that read "Tear Gas Ted” in reference to the Portland Police Bureau's use of the substance before federal agents arrived.

(Read more Portland, Oregon stories.)

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