Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper sprayed a man during a confrontation outside of a restaurant

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler reacts after being exposed to tear gas fired by federal officers while attending a protest against police brutality and racial injustice in front of the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse on July 22, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.

  • Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler used pepper spray on an unmasked man Sunday night.
  • Wheeler told police the man was harassing him and refusing to back away.
  • The incident took place as Wheeler was leaving a restaurant.
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The mayor of Portland told police that he asked the man to back away. When the man refused, he took out his pepper spray and spritzed him in the eyes – before offering him a bottle of water to wash it out.

“He had no face mask and got within a foot or two of my face while he was videoing me,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said, according to a police report obtained by The Oregonian. “I became imminently concerned for my personal safety.”

The incident took place Sunday night after Wheeler, a Democrat, was leaving a restaurant where had dined with one of his predecessors, Mayor Sam Adams.

According to Wheeler’s statement to police, he was confronted by an unmasked videographer who accused him of not wearing a facial covering while he dined.

“I clearly informed him that he needed to back off. He did not do so I informed him that I was carrying pepper spray and that I would use it if he did not back off,” Wheeler told law enforcement. “He remained at close distance, I pulled out my pepper spray and I sprayed him in the eyes.”

A spokesperson for Wheeler told The Oregonian that the mayor “is cooperating with the police investigation.”

Over the summer, the mayor was himself hit with a chemical irritant by federal agents deployed in his city, which some anti-racist protesters took as poetic justice for the use of chemical irritants by Portland police under his watch – spurring one local cook to name a hot sauce after the mayor: “Tear Gas Ted.

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