In a statement issued Sunday night, Mayor Ted Wheeler responded for the first time to President Donald Trump's deployment of federal officers to Portland—one of whom gravely injured a protester Saturday by hitting him in the head with a munition.
In response, the mayor called for an end to "nightly violence" and asked that the federal agencies who are patrolling Portland protests to adhere to the same rules as Portland Police Bureau officers.
"A person was seriously injured in Portland last night. This should not have happened," Wheeler said. "I'm concerned that the actions of federal officers last night escalated, rather than deescalated, already heightened tensions in our city."
Wheeler's statement was lukewarm. The mayor did not call on the federal agents to leave Portland. He did not respond to President Trump, who taunted Wheeler's and other local officials' handling of the protests, nor did the mayor actively condemn the federal agencies whose officer struck a protester at close range in the face with a projectile, causing him to be hospitalized and undergo facial reconstructive surgery, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Wheeler said he spoke with the U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams and that the U.S. Marshals Service would conduct a "full investigation" into the incident.
Wheeler has spent much of the past two weeks deploring property damage by protesters. In his statement tonight, he condemned violence but did not always specify who was committing it.
"My main concern is this: that the continuing violence will lead to further injuries or even deaths. Nobody in Portland wants to see that happen," Wheeler said. "I am calling on the federal government to adhere to the same directives as our Portland Police Bureau when it comes to crowd control munitions."
On Friday, Trump congratulated the head of the Department of Homeland Security for tamping down on protests against police violence in Portland, saying he deployed federal agents to the city because "the locals couldn't handle it."
Wheeler has yet to respond directly to those claims.
Here is the full statement:
A person was seriously injured in Portland last night. This should not have happened. I spoke with U.S. Attorney Bill Williams about the injuries and learned that the U.S. Marshals Service will be conducting a full investigation. I am calling on the federal government to be thorough and transparent with their findings. I'm concerned that the actions of federal officers last night escalated, rather than de-escalated, already heightened tensions in our city.
We are now more than a month and a half into witnessing nightly violence on our streets. Portland continues to be used as a staging ground for violence night after night. This is causing unprecedented harm to our communities, livelihoods, and Portlanders continue to fear for their safety. My main concern is this: that the continuing violence will lead to further injuries or even deaths. Nobody in Portland wants to see that happen. That is why I put into place restrictions on the Portland Police Bureau, limiting the use of CS gas and LRAD [long-range acoustic devices] to only life safety situations. Portland Police Chief Lovell knows my direction and expectation of the bureau: to end the nightly violence as quickly and safely as possible. I am calling on the federal government to adhere to the same directives as our Portland Police Bureau when it comes to crowd control munitions.
I am also calling on our city, county and federal partners as well as our entire community to join me in our call to move our city forward in peace so that we can begin the necessary work of rebuilding, reforming, protecting our community from a global pandemic, and dismantling systemic racism. We must end this nightly violence in Portland. Lives are at stake.