Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says he pepper-sprayed a person after he accused him of ignoring covid-19 measures

The encounter between Wheeler and the unidentified man was recorded former Portland mayor Sam Adams, who later instructed police that the person, who was unmasked, had accosted them on the road with a video digicam.

Tim Becker, a spokesman for the mayor’s workplace, instructed The Washington Publish in an electronic mail Monday that Wheeler is cooperating with police “and encourages others concerned to do the identical.” Adams declined to remark.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) has confronted criticizism each right- and left-wing activists. (The Washington Publish)

Over the previous yr, Wheeler has been extremely criticized protesters over his administration of police amid final summer time’s protest crackdowns. At one level, some urged him to resign for what they noticed was an inadequate response to requires police reform.

He’s additionally confronted criticism for his early dealing with of the pandemic within the metropolis. On Monday, the state’s division of well being reported 291 new coronavirus instances and three deaths in Multnomah County, the town’s county seat.

Wheeler served as Oregon’s treasurer from 2010 till 2016, when he was first elected mayor of Portland. He was reelected for a second time period in November.

On Sunday evening, at about eight p.m., Wheeler was leaving McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery & Public Home after eating with Adams when a maskless, middle-aged White man out of the blue approached, the mayor later instructed the Oregon police division.

The person, who instructed Wheeler he had taken photos of him on the pub, accused the mayor of disregarding coronavirus security measures throughout his assembly with Adams, Wheeler wrote in an emailed assertion to police.

“He accused me of sitting in a restaurant with out a masks,” Wheeler stated. “I knowledgeable him the present covid rules enable individuals to take their masks off for the aim of consuming and ingesting.”

The person then adopted him to his automobile whereas recording along with his cellphone, Wheeler stated, and refused to again away regardless of Wheeler’s a number of requests. He was inside two toes of the mayor’s face, Wheeler instructed police.

That’s when the mayor stated he gave the person a ultimate warning: “I knowledgeable him that I used to be carrying pepper spray and that I’d use it if he didn’t again off,” Wheeler instructed police. When the person didn’t comply, Wheeler stated, he pepper-sprayed him within the eyes. The person, who appeared shocked, in response to Wheeler, lastly backed off.

“Truly,” Adams stated within the recording, “I used to be right here, and also you have been like a foot from him. He requested you to again away, and also you didn’t.”

Wheeler later described the person to the police as a White man in his 40s.

Wheeler instructed police he feared the maskless man might infect him with the coronavirus, including that he was additionally involved for his private security following the incident the place a lady allegedly smacked him in a restaurant earlier this month.

Earlier than leaving, Wheeler stated, he threw the person a bottle of water so he might wash out his eyes.

Hannah Knowles contributed to this report.

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