Wheeler: ‘We do not need or want’ federal help with protests

2020 Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told the acting Homeland Security secretary that federal law enforcement agents should “leave Portland altogether” after days of increasing tensions between protesters downtown.

In a series of tweets, Wheeler said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf asked to speak with him about the ongoing demonstrations in Portland, which started in late May following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while being arrested.

“We do not need or want [federal] help,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler tweeted he told Wolf his “biggest immediate concern” was the violence demonstrated by federal officers over the weekend; one protester was critically injured when he was shot in the head by a “less lethal” munition.

“The best thing [federal officers] can do is stay in their building, or leave Portland altogether,” Wheeler tweeted, adding, “Our goal is to end these violent demonstrations quickly and safely. And in the meantime, I asked him to clean up the graffiti on local federal facilities.”

President Donald Trump said agents “quelled” Portland because it was “totally out of control” earlier this week after announcing last month he wanted action to protect federal monuments. Trump has also declared he would label members of Antifa, an umbrella term for far-left militant protesters who confront neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations, as domestic terrorists.

Tuesday marks Day 47 of continuous protests in Portland. Dozens have been arrested by Portland and Multnomah County officers; meanwhile, the city and county law enforcement agencies have also been subject to a restraining order limiting the agencies’ use of teargas amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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