Portland Mayor Gets Confronted, Uses Pepper Spray

Ted Wheeler says the man 'seemed surprised'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2021 6:48 AM CST
Portland Mayor to Police: I Pepper-Sprayed the Guy
In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks during a news conference.   (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, file)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper-sprayed a man in the eyes as he was accosted near a restaurant for the second time in a month on Sunday, according to a police report. Wheeler had just finished having dinner with former Mayor Sam Adams—who is rumored to be joining Wheeler's administration—when an unmasked man confronted them outside a pub around 8pm, accusing Wheeler of dining without a mask, the report reads, per the Oregonian. Wheeler explained he'd dined in a tented section of the pub where face coverings weren't required but the man would not "back off," the mayor told police, per Oregon Public Broadcasting. "He had no face mask on and got within a foot or two of my face while he was videoing me," Wheeler added. "I became imminently concerned for my personal safety, as I had recently been physically accosted in a similar situation."

Wheeler claimed a left-wing activist hit him while he dined at another Portland restaurant on Jan. 6, though he chose not to press charges, per the Oregonian. That incident came after protesters set fires inside Wheeler's condo building in August. The report released Monday said the man, who appeared to be in his 40s, "remained at close distance" as the mayor walked to his car. Wheeler warned he had pepper spray and would use it, then did so, spraying the man in the eyes, the report reads. "He seemed surprised" and "made a comment like 'I can't believe you just pepper sprayed me,'" Wheeler said, per KOIN. He added he gave the man a bottle of water so he could rinse his face. "The mayor is cooperating with the police investigation and encourages others involved to do the same," a rep says. OPB notes a person can be charged for "recklessly" discharging pepper spray against someone else. (Read more Portland, Oregon stories.)

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