PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joined large crowds of protesters near the Justice Center in Portland Wednesday night.
This is the first time that Wheeler has been among protesters since federal officers arrived in Portland in the beginning of July.
Wheeler held a listening session and was passing around a microphone and responding to protesters’ comments.
One asked Wheeler if he would commit to work towards abolishing the Portland Police Bureau.
Wheeler answered, “No, I do not support that,” and then received boos from the crowd.
Wheeler says if efforts to push federal authorities out of Portland don’t succeed, “this will happen all across the country.”
He also took questions, including one about qualified immunity. Wheeler said he is “100 percent committed to getting rid of qualified immunity.”
Directly behind Mayor Wheeler, a list of protesters’ demands projected on the Justice Center. 1. Defund @PortlandPolice by at least 50%2. Free all protesters from jail3. Get feds out of #Portland4. Resignation of @tedwheeler #Portland #Oregon #Pdx @fox12oregon #protest pic.twitter.com/2XOF54fn8G— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) July 23, 2020
Wheeler later moved to the steps of the Justice Center and addressed the crowd.
He talked about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and talked about how federal officers need to get out of Portland.
“If they launched the tear gas against you, they’re launching the tear gas against me. We are a community. Here’s what I think about the federal government being in our city. They were not asked to be here. They are not wanted here. They’re not property trained to be here. And we are asking them… we’re demanding that they leave. We demand that the federal government stop occupying our city,” Wheeler said.
There were chants asking mayor to resign. People were saying he’s not going enough to make sure local police aren’t brutalizing people or protesters.
Also Wednesday evening, a FOX 12 crew saw fireworks being thrown at federal courthouse and people trying to climb over a new fence that was constructed around the building. Federal officers were on the loudspeakers warning people to stop.
Portland Police said flares and other incendiaries were thrown over the fence around the federal courthouse, which led to a fire in the portico between the fence and the building.
Meanwhile, Oregon is requesting a restraining order against federal police that would require them to stop detaining protesters without probable cause. The order would also make them identify themselves before arrests are made and make them explain why the arrest is happening.
Court papers on Wednesday showed there are 113 federal officers in Portland. 28 federal officers have been injured in nightly protests, and damage to the federal courthouse has totaled $50,000, according to the papers.
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