Portland’s left-wing Mayor, Ted Wheeler, is continuing to face a backlash over his refusal to take a stand against “Abolish ICE” activists who set up a camp to blockade a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in the Oregon city and are harassing ICE employees, reportedly at their homes.
The controversy ignited last weekend, when the National ICE Council complained that Wheeler had ordered his police force not to respond to ICE agents’ requests for assistance in dealing with an “Abolish ICE” tent city set up at their perimeter. Activists at the camp beheaded effigies of President Donald Trump, drove off a local food truck owner trying to serve agents, and videoed themselves shouting racial slurs at ICE agents arresting those interfering in ICE operations.
On Wednesday, Wheeler denied these claims, saying that “no such policy exists,” but his statement largely confirms the sentiments he is accused of. “In this case, I have consistently stated that I did not want the Portland Police Bureau to be engaged or sucked into a conflict for the purpose of securing federal property that houses a federal agency with their own federal police force,” the statement reads.
Wheeler then writes, “I stand with those who are outraged by the forced separation of parents from their children, families who in many cases are fleeing oppression in other countries.”
On Thursday, Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, released a scathing statement on mayor Wheeler’s conduct, adding to the ammunition assembled against him. “As Mayor, Mr. Wheeler can certainly have his own personally held political beliefs. In contrast, as Police Commissioner, he must set his personal political beliefs aside and ensure public safety is his top priority,” the statement reads. “Politics have no place in the operations of the Portland Police Bureau. If Chief Outlaw’s review reveals flawed policy direction from the Mayor/Police Commissioner that includes selective enforcement of our laws, that is certainly problematic and cause for grave concern.”
The statement also made clear that the Portland police officers Turner represents were, themselves, more than willing to defend their federal law enforcement counterparts:
As police officers, our primary responsibility and duty is public safety; to ensure our city is a safe place to live, work, and raise a family. If someone calls for help and police are dispatched, we respond, without regard to who you are or where you are from. It makes no difference whether you are a soccer mom, an off-duty police officer, a CEO, or homeless; if you need our help, it is our responsibility to be there.
Quillette’s Andy Ngo then wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Friday citing additional evidence of the activists’ harassment campaign. “Federal workers were defenseless,” Ngo writes:
An ICE officer, who asked that his name not be published, told me one of his colleagues was trailed in a car and confronted when he went to pick up his daughter from summer camp. Later people showed up at his house. Another had his name and photo plastered on flyers outside his home accusing him of being part of the “Gestapo.”Where were the police? Ordered away by Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler, who doubles as police commissioner.