Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler today rebutted allegations that he ordered Portland police to ignore 911 calls made by federal immigration officials last month, calling the accusations "inaccurate and inflammatory."
The mayor wrote a letter to the attorney for the National ICE Council, the union that represents U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, responding to allegations the union made on Monday morning that the Portland Police Bureau adopted a policy of not responding to 911 calls from ICE agents.
"No such policy exists," Wheeler writes.
He says Portland police "made clear" to officials from the Federal Protective Service and ICE that local officers would respond to calls for emergency service if there was a "life safety concern."
"I have consistently stated that I did not want the Portland Police Bureau to be
engaged or sucked into a conflict for the purpose of securing federal property that houses a federal agency with their own federal police force," Wheeler wrote.
An email sent by Portland police deputy chief Bob Day, obtained today by WW, supports some of Wheeler's claims.
But it also suggests that Portland police did refuse to respond to some calls made by federal officials.
"At this time I am denying your request for additional resources from PPB," Day wrote on June 19. "I recognize this is a fluid situation that will need continuous monitoring. I am willing to revisit this inquiry after you have exhausted all alternative options besides arrests and maximized the use of FPS resources. We will respond to [calls] for assistance if your officers are assaulted and need us to facilitate a safe exit from the conflict."
Wheeler also says the lawyer, Sean Riddell, could not provide evidence of calls for service that went unheard.
"In discussions with our attorney you were unable to make any substantive claim, instead stating that you 'have unconfirmed reports from sources that I am not at liberty to disclose that assert the City of Portland did not respond to 911 calls,'" Wheeler wrote.
He asked Riddell to share proof that Portland police had failed to respond to emergency calls.