Portland mayor tear gassed after speaking with protesters on presence of federal agents

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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 on July 22, 2020 in Portland, Ore. | Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear gassed in downtown Portland early Thursday morning, according to video and posts on Twitter from a New York Times journalist. “It stings. It’s hard to breathe. I can tell you with 100% honesty I saw nothing that provoked this response,” Wheeler said to the Times camera. “I’m not afraid but I am pissed off.”

It’s unknown at this time who is responsible for deploying the tear gas and at this point, there is nothing to indicate the mayor was targeted. CNN has reached out to the mayor’s office for additional comment.The video appeared to come after Wheeler joined crowds to listen to protesters and answer their questions after violent clashes between demonstrators and federal forces.

Wheeler addressed the presence of federal officers in his city who have been deployed by the Trump administration and are heavily opposed by local leaders across the state and nation. The President said the effort was to protect federal property, but protesters say the action itself has fueled the public’s outrage. Demonstrations in the city, many of which have been peaceful, have been ongoing for more than 50 days.

‘’More on the story: CNN and Politico