Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler seems to be a magnet for trouble.
He just was involved in another incident while out dining.
Earlier this month Wheeler was hit by an apparent Antifa member while being harassed and screamed at by a group in a restaurant. A business in Wheeler’s condo building was set on fire by Antifa last year in an effort to retaliate at Wheeler for what they perceived as him being “hard” on them. Fortunately it was put out before it spread beyond the business and endangered the residents.
On Sunday, Wheeler had another conflict during which he pepper sprayed a man and filed a police report about the incident.
Wheeler was out with former mayor Sam Adams talking about having him work in some capacity for Wheeler’s administration. As they left the restaurant they had dined at, Wheeler was approached by a middle-aged man dressed in dark clothing who yelled at Wheeler for not wearing a mask in the restaurant. Wheeler said he had been eating and masks weren’t required in the area where they were which was a tented outdoor area.
Wheeler said the man followed him to his car, got really close to him and wasn’t wearing a mask. Wheeler said he “became imminently concerned for my personal safety” and warned the man to get back. The man refused. Wheeler said he warned him he had pepper spray and would use it but he said the man would still not back away, so he sprayed him. He said the man seemed surprised and that he threw a water bottle at him so he could use it to rinse his eyes and rode away with Adams.
Here’s an audio of the altercation that was made by Sam Adams and published by Willamette Week.
Now it might be understandable, in Wheeler’s situation, that he might be particularly sensitive to such contacts. So the police are going to have to look at whether he was justified in his actions given the facts. Wheeler does not allege that the man tried to strike him or harm him, just that he felt threatened by him. Just hearing bits and pieces and not seeing the posture of the man or what he did makes the situation unclear.
Wheeler, as Mayor of Portland, is also the police commissioner so a case involving him could raise a variety of conflicts.
But his use of pepper spray is very ironic. Wheeler was very reluctant to have police use pepper spray on Antifa and very critical of federal officers using such agents to protect themselves last year when attacked. Apparently, though, it’s all cool if he feels that he’s threatened by someone even if he hasn’t actually been attacked. After Antifa has continued to destroy the city, he’s become more convinced that some force is going to be needed to stop them and he’s called them out more and by name.