The national union representing U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement officers is calling for state and federal investigations of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and wants him to relinquish control of the city's police department, according to the Washington Times.
It's part of an ongoing feud between the mayor and the agency over how the Oregon city handled protests against ICE over the summer.
ICE union attorney Sean Riddell asked for the investigations in a letter he wrote to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Riddell believes Wheeler violated state law by not enforcing city and state laws. He also claims Wheeler used the police bureau for his own political agenda.
“Our hope is that Mr. Wheeler relinquishes his supervisory authority of the Portland Police Bureau pending the outcome of your investigation,” Riddell wrote in the letter obtained by KGW-TV.
Wheeler said he is being targeted for his political beliefs.
“Make no mistake. They are coming after me because I am a vocal opponent of the administration’s policy of separating kids from their parents,” Wheeler told the news outlet.
"Previous claims made by Sean Riddell have fallen apart upon further inspection, and these claims, if investigated, will too,” Wheeler said.
The ICE union’s letter outlines the latest development in an ongoing feud with Wheeler over the Occupy ICE PDX protest in front of the agency’s Southwest Portland office, the Times reported.
The letter states:
According to our investigation, after Mr. Wheeler's policy declaration of June 20, 2018 the crowd around the ICE building: swelled; physically blocked the exits of a privately owned building; blocked ICE employees from exiting their place of work; denied ICE employees access to their privately owned vehicles; verbally assaulted ICE employees; blocked traffic; harassed local merchants; harassed local residents; engaged in violent and tumultuous behavior; and established an unauthorized occupation of public property without a permit. This behavior continued for at least 38 days.
What else is at play?
Willamette Week reported in July that city policies prevented Portland law enforcement from assisting ICE.
The union called it a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
The group maintained that on at least two occasions, "federal ICE employees called Portland police while being harassed by protesters — but cops did not show up, because Portland's mayor had ordered them not to intervene," the Week reported.
Union members had sent Wheeler a cease and desist letter that demanded he require Portland police to assist federal agents at their request, according to the report.