News reports from The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and others all claim the Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, was tear-gassed by federal agents during Black Lives Matter demonstrations Wednesday night with no provocation or reasonable cause.
“I can tell you with 100% honesty, I saw nothing that provoked this response,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “I’m not afraid, but I am pissed off. This is an egregious overreaction on the part of the federal officers.” But one eyewitness is calling the claim into question.
As he stood outside a federal courthouse during another night of violent protests and riots, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) seemed slightly dazed and congested after agents dispatched by President Donald Trump appeared to tear-gas the progressive politician.
That is what is being reported in the news, at least.
However, according to CBN News contributor Chuck Holton, who was on the ground during the protesting in Portland, the entire encounter was intentionally staged.
“I just want to tell you it’s all a lie,” he said. “I was 15 yards away from Ted Wheeler. These were not peaceful protesters; these were protesters that were actively attacking the federal courthouse in downtown Portland with rocks, bottles, water bottles, fireworks, paint-filled water balloons, dangerous green lasers, very powerful lasers, and, by the way, were starting fires, pretty large fires, on the portico of the federal courthouse.”
Holton argued Wheeler intentionally positioned himself “right in the middle” of the escalating clash. At that point, the CBN contributor recalled, federal agents began issuing loud warnings, notifying anyone in the middle of the mayhem — to include the mayor — that the protest had been declared a riot and they would soon begin exercising crowd-control measures.
Those messages rang out “probably at least five times.”
“And Ted Wheeler stayed right there, in the middle, in the center, in the front, where the tear gas would certainly be shot first — knowing he was about to be tear-gassed,” explained Holton.
He added, “So the news you’re seeing that Ted Wheeler was viciously attacked and tear-gassed by federal agents without provocation is a lie. It’s wrong. I was there, and I actually have footage to prove it.”
As for the federal government, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said Thursday on “CBS This Morning” that Wheeler — not federal authorities — is guilty of endorsing and legitimizing criminality in Portland by willingly standing in front of the blazing courthouse and speaking as rioters tried to rip apart the protective fence around the federal facility.
“What we know is before DHS law enforcement, civil law enforcement officers arrived in Portland, the mayor is on record as saying that the city is on — has a certain level of violence,” Wolf said. “It was ongoing well for a month before we arrived.”