Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced on Thursday (Sep. 10) that he is banning the use of CS tear gas by the police as a way to decrease “the violence in our community.”
“During the last hundred days, Portland, Multnomah County and State Police have all relied on CS gas where there is a threat to life safety,” Wheeler said in a statement. “We need something different. We need it now.”
“Arson, vandalism, and violence are not going to drive change in this community,” he said. “I expect the police to arrest people who engage in criminal acts. I expect the District Attorney to prosecute those who commit criminal acts. And I expect the rest of the criminal justice system to hold those individuals accountable. We must stand together as a community against violence and for progress.”
Back in June, Mayor Wheeler said the police would no longer use tear gas to break up crowds “unless there is a serious and immediate threat to life safety, and there is no other viable alternative for dispersal.” Police still used tear gas against protesters, despite the mayor’s June order.
Wheeler was tear-gassed by federal agents back in July as he joined protesters, who have been in the streets every night since George Floyd was killed, to host “listening sessions.” President Donald Trump deployed federal agents to Portland to help control the protesters, a move Wheeler opposed.
“I want to thank the thousands of you who have come out to oppose the Trump administration’s occupation of this city,” the mayor previously told protesters who were gathered near Portland’s federal courthouse. “The reason this is important is it is not just happening in Portland… we’re on the front line here in Portland.”