Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) joined the mayors of Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., Seattle, and Kansas City in demanding the expulsion of federal law enforcement from their cities and said President Donald Trump is “attacking progressive cities with a classic ‘divide and conquer’ tactics.”
He is also urging Congress to investigate what he described as the administration’s “unconstitutional terror tactics.”
Six Democrat mayors — Jenny Durkan (D) of Seattle, Keisha Bottoms (D) of Atlanta, Lori Lightfoot (D) of Chicago, Muriel Bowser (D) of D.C., Quinton Lucas (D) of Kansas City, and Ted Wheeler (D) of Portland — signed a letter Monday to Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf expressing “deep concern and objection to the deployment of federal forces in our cities, as those forces are conducting law enforcement activities without coordination or authorization of local law enforcement officials.”
The mayors are demanding “immediate action to withdraw your forces and agree to no further unilateral deployments in our cities.”
Today, Mayors from around the country took a stand against unilateral federal intervention in our cities, calling for immediate removal of the President’s “Rapid Deployment Unit” squads and for a congressional investigation of their unconstitutional terror tactics. pic.twitter.com/akgHn7hPWz
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 20, 2020
Wheeler — whose city saw yet another night of violence hallmarked by vandalism, arson, and looting Tuesday morning — followed up in another statement, reiterating his stance and accusing the president of “attacking” progressive cities.
“The President is attacking progressive cities with a classic ‘divide and conquer’ tactics. We must not fall prey to this. Nationwide, we must stand together for peace and for reform against those who would oppose it,” Wheeler stated.
“Here in Portland, our values are clear. We support peaceful protest. We support system change. We denounce violence,” he said, following another night of violence in his city.
Wheeler said he has asked the City Attorney to “explore other legal options to address federal actions in or community” and vowed to continue to work with his Council colleagues ” to consider and direct reforms of the Portland Police Bureau.”
“I will continue to serve as Police Commissioner through this time of transformation,” he added. “And I will continue to work with elected leaders for the County and the State to ensure that we are examining the criminal justice system as a whole”:
Mayor @tedwheeler signs letter w/ mayors of Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and D.C. to USDOJ & DHS, urging federal officers to withdraw from city and halt 'unilateral' deployment to cities. Wheeler says he's not giving up police commissioner role. https://t.co/UKAiilfvpB pic.twitter.com/8NpdkRjkSD
— Maxine Bernstein (@maxoregonian) July 20, 2020
Violence has plagued Portland for several weeks, as protesters continue to engage in acts of violence, vandalism, and arson on a nightly basis. Early Tuesday morning, vandals targeted the Federal Courthouse and Justice Center and reacted violently to the federal response, throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Demonstrators also lit several fires in the surrounding area.
Area-businesses have lost at least $23 million as a result of the protests, as Breitbart News reported.
We’re going to have more federal law enforcement — that, I can tell you. In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in very short period of time. No problem. They grab them; a lot of people in jail. They’re leaders. These are anarchists. These are not protesters. People say “protesters”; these people are anarchists. These are people that hate our country. And we’re not going to let it go forward.
“The governor and the mayor and the senators out there, they’re afraid of these people,” Trump said. “That’s the reason they don’t want us to help them. They’re afraid.”
” I really believe they’re actually maybe even physically afraid of these people — because what they’re doing is incredible,” he added.