The Portland police union openly rebuffed Mayor Ted Wheeler in a statement Friday morning condemning the mayor's decision to keep local officers from intervening with the Occupy ICE camp stationed outside of a federal building in southwest Portland.
"There is no place for personal, political bias when it comes to providing public safety services to our communities," Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner said in a statement on Facebook. "In that respect, our Mayor, who is also our Police Commissioner, has failed miserably."
Turner's statement may be the most pointed rejection of a police commissioner in a decade. And it arrives on the eve of Portland police attempting to calm dueling protests that have drawn national attention and local unease.
Wheeler came under fire after a WW report Monday revealing that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement union had threatened legal action if the mayor continued to a policy to keep local police from responding to calls for service made by federal officials. The mayor says no such policy exists.
ICE employees have said police refused to show up to help employees enter and exit the federal ICE building or to retrieve vehicles from the parking lot that had been blocked by protesters.
Wheeler says he did not want police to "get sucked in" to conflicts between ICE officials and protesters. He decried the family separation policy adopted by the Trump administration as "un-American."
Turner voiced support for Police Chief Danielle Outlaw in his statement—making a clear distinction between her orders and the mayor's.
"We appreciate the words of support from Chief Outlaw and continue to look to her for operational guidance on important policing matters," he said.
Outlaw said Portland police had responded appropriately to ICE calls, prioritizing responding to any incident where someone's safety was being threatened.
"As Mayor, Mr. Wheeler can certainly have his own personally held political beliefs," Turner said. "In contrast, as Police Commissioner, he must set his personal political beliefs aside and ensure public safety is his top priority. Politics have no place in the operations of the Portland Police Bureau."