Portland Mayor Pepper-Sprays Maskless Constituent Accusing Him of Disregarding COVID Measures


Ted Wheeler, the Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, pepper-sprayed a man on Sunday evening who had reportedly asked him why he was eating at a restaurant without a mask on, and also accused Wheeler of “ruining” the city.

Willamette Week reported Wheeler had finished dining with former Portland Mayor Sam Adams at the McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery & Public House when he was walking to his car and was confronted by a man who had accused him of not wearing a mask while having dinner.

Indoor dining is currently banned in Portland, so restaurants have converted outdoor spaces into dining areas.

Presumably, keeping a table outdoors warm enough to eat at in January in Oregon would make that table indoors, but not a lot makes sense in the Beaver State these days.

Things make even less sense in Portland, where under Wheeler’s leadership, rioters have essentially been given a free pass to riot, while business owners have been demanded to bear the brunt of that rioting — in addition to the government’s COVID-19 restrictions.

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One maskless man had reportedly spotted Wheeler dining with Adams, and he decided to confront the mayor. That man, who has not been identified, informed Wheeler he had photographed him patronizing the restaurant while not wearing a mask or social distancing.

Adams caught the exchange on an audio recording on his cell phone. That audio was obtained by the Willamette Week.

“Excuse me,” the voice of a man presumed to be Wheeler said on the audio, “apparently you don’t know the rules.”

Do you think Wheeler should be punished for using pepper spray after he banned the use of eye irritants on rioters?

“You weren’t six feet apart from Mr. Adams over there,” the man said in response.

“Yeah, we were,” a voice reported to be that of Adams then said.

“Thanks for ruining our city,” the man said to Wheeler.

What happened next left the man shadowing Wheeler stunned. He was pepper-sprayed in the eyes.

“You just pepper-sprayed me,” the man said. “Oh my God. Wow … You just pepper-sprayed me, for no reason at all.”

Wheeler also threw what he told police was a bottle of water at the man so he could rinse out his eyes. The man who had been pepper-sprayed seemed to back up that statement on the audio recording.

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“I can’t see … but the mayor has just thrown something at me,” said the man.

Wheeler’s response was short: “You are one foot away from me. You are not six feet away.”

Maxine Bernstein with The Oregonian obtained a police report filed by Wheeler. In the report, Wheeler said he feared for his safety and was concerned he might catch the coronavirus from the man, as he was not wearing a mask.

Ironically, Wheeler banned police in his city from using tear gas amid the city’s nonstop civil unrest last year, which has carried on into 2021. Tear gas is, of course, an eye irritant that can leave people stunned, and therefore in most cases temporarily unable to commit violence.

Wheeler wanted police to have fewer methods to disperse crowds and protect property, even as fires were set throughout the city and police were routinely hit in the eyes by laser pointers and targeted by projectiles.

Wheeler seems to have beef with police officers. Just look at how Wheeler responded after his own home was targeted in late August by rioters: he attacked the police who defended it.

“More than 200 people on Monday night marched to the Pearl District condominium tower where Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler lives to demand his resignation,” The Oregonian reported.

“The demonstration quickly turned destructive as some in the crowd lit a fire in the street, then placed a picnic table from a nearby business on top of the fire to feed the blaze. People shattered windows and broke into a ground-floor dental office, taking items including a chair, also added to the fire, and office supplies.”

Wheeler called out an officer present online when he tweeted that, “A police officer was filmed repeatedly striking an individual at a protest.”

But when push came to shove on Sunday, Wheeler apparently resorted to using an eye irritant similar to the one he banned cops from using to fend off a man with a camera.

After hamstringing police for half a year, Wheeler — in a stunning display of entitled hypocrisy — hit a man in the eyes with pepper spray.

It isn’t yet clear if the mayor committed a crime with his actions on Sunday.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.