To say Ted Wheeler has had a rough year is an understatement. The beleaguered Mayor of Portland, Oregon, has been under immense pressure in relation to the Black Lives Matter protests that took over the downtown area of the city in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the end of May. Wheeler’s tenure had already been marked by other controversies, but he’s had a national target on his back ever since he was singled out by Donald Trump and Chad Wolf during the Summer of 2020. Wheeler has also been criticized for his mishandling of several incidences regarding the Portland Police force amid accusations that they’ve been helping local hate groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.
Wheeler was leaving a suburban Portland restaurant Sunday with former Mayor Sam Adams, who had recently been hired as part of Wheeler’s staff, and Dan Ryan, a local politician, when according to a statement he released on Monday, a man he didn’t know and didn’t recognize approached them with a camera phone and acted so aggressively, Wheeler pepper-sprayed the man, then called the police and left with Adams.
Wheeler, who was famously teargassed over the summer as he attempted to walk through a Black Lives Matter protest, told police the man had accused him of breaking local mask-wearing orders, although Wheeler said he was seated at an outdoor table under a dining tent, and only removed his mask to eat and drink, which follows the local ordinances. According to the report, Adams confirmed Wheeler explained to the man during the confrontation that people were allowed to remove their masks for eating and drinking.
“He had no face mask on and got within a foot or two of my face while he was videoing me,” Wheeler told police, according to a copy of the report made public Monday afternoon. “I became imminently concerned for my personal safety.”
WHEELER: "In fact, I was in the tented area of a restaurant sitting at a table, and I informed him the current Covid regulations allow people to take their mask off for the purpose of eating and drinking."#LiveOnK2
— Genevieve Reaume (@GenevieveReaume) January 25, 2021
Wheeler’s statement says in part: “I clearly informed him that he needed to back off. He did not do so I informed him that I was carrying pepper spray and that I would use it if he did not back off. He remained at close distance, I pulled out my pepper spray and I sprayed him in the eyes. He seemed surprised, and backed off. He made a comment like ‘I can’t believe you just pepper sprayed me.’ He walked away from my car, the individual with me suggested that I leave for my safety, before I did so I threw a full water bottle towards him so that he could wash out his eyes with water.”
Ted Wheeler defended himself against a psychopath that was videotaping him eating, and then pursued him to his car.See Also
Fixed it for you. https://t.co/yaryESdNsj
— Fiber Optic Gates 🛰 (@accountable_gov) January 26, 2021
Wheeler’s office released an additional statement late Monday about the incident, saying the mayor had filed a police report and “is cooperating with the police investigation and encourages others involved to do the same.”