Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed by federal officers along with a large crowd of protesters late Wednesday night after he tried for hours to calm down angry activists demanding police reform from City Hall and calling for federal authorities to withdraw from this mostly liberal, mostly white city.
The mayor was caught in a chaotic display of violence and mayhem that began around 11:15 p.m., after some protesters threw flaming bags of garbage over a fence protecting the local federal courthouse, prompting the federal officers to fire tear gas at the crowd.
Wheeler had spent many hours in the thick of the protest, attempting to answer questions from the crowd, which booed and jeered as he tried to explain a lengthy process for making reforms. At one point, he acknowledged that he’s a “white, privileged male.”
“Obviously we have a long way to go,” Wheeler said. “Everyone here has a job to do, all of us.”
Before the crowd was tear-gassed, Wheeler huddled with local leaders of the Black Lives Matter social justice movement who demanded he move more quickly to reform the police department.
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