Portland Mayor will stay on as police commissioner

2020 Protests

Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he will continue to lead the agency after Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty's demands

Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, right, at a 2019 City Council meeting. They have feuded over leadership of the Portland Police Bureau. (Portland Tribune/PMG File Photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler will continue as the Portland Police Commissioner, he announced on Twitter on the afternoon of Monday, July 20. 

The announcement came after Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called on the mayor to control the Portland Police Bureau or hand her the reins on Saturday.

“I will continue to serve as Police Commissioner through this time of transformation,” Wheeler wrote. “And I will continue to work with elected leaders from the County and the State to ensure that we are examining the criminal justice system as a whole.” 

Hardesty called for Wheeler to give her control of the police after Portland police and federal law enforcement used aggressive tactics, including tear gas and pepper spray, on a largely peaceful crowd of protesters Friday night.

“You are putting our community in danger,” Hardesty wrote on Saturday, July 18. “We need you to be better. We need you to stop denying the violence being perpetrated by our own police force and make it clear and unambiguous.”

Hardesty demanded that he direct police not to collaborate with federal officers, stop wearing riot gear and stop contributing to the nightly violence. 

Wheeler announced he would keep his position as police commissioner in a series of tweets, beginning with a call for federal law enforcement to withdraw from Portland protests.

The Portland Police Bureau did not show up or attempt to control the crowd Sunday night, but the violence continued as federal law enforcement used tear gas, pepper spray and less-lethal munitions on protesters. 

On Monday, Wheeler joined majors from Seattle to Atlanta, calling on the Trump administration to pull federal forces out of cities.

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