Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) told police that he pepper-sprayed a man Sunday night outside a pub, claiming he feared for his own "personal safety" as the unnamed subject allegedly confronted the mayor and accused him of "sitting in a restaurant without a mask."
What are the details?
According to a police report published by KOIN-TV, Wheeler says he was seated in a tent outside McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery & Public House with former Portland Mayor Sam Adams (D), and as the pair attempted to leave, a middle-aged white man approached Wheeler.
The unknown man "appeared to be videoing with a cellphone," Wheeler told officers, and accused the current mayor of "sitting in a restaurant without a mask." Wheeler said that he explained to the man that people are allowed to sit in restaurants without a mask when they are eating and drinking.
OPB reported that in Multnomah County, where the pub is located, "outdoor dining is allowed as long as restaurants operate below capacity."
The man, undeterred, then allegedly followed Wheeler to his vehicle while continuing to video the mayor.
Wheeler told police, "I became imminently concerned for my personal safety, as I had recently been physically accosted in a similar situation. In addition, I was concerned about contracting Covid given that he was right in my face that he was not wearing a face mask."
He recalled warning the man that he had pepper spray and threatened to "use it if he did not back off."
After the man allegedly refused to "back off," Wheeler said he sprayed the man in the eyes. Before driving away, the mayor says he "threw a full water bottle toward" the man "so that he could wash out his eyes with water."
Both Wheeler and Adams told police that they did not recognize the man.
A spokesman for Wheeler acknowledged the incident, telling The Oregonian, "The mayor is cooperating with the police investigation and encourages others involved to do the same."
Earlier this month, Wheeler was screamed at and even physically assaulted by a group of thugs while dining outdoors at a different Portland eatery.
A spokesman for the mayor's office told The Oregonian at the time, ""Given the tenor of political discourse nationally and locally, it's not unusual for people to confront the mayor and other elected officials in public. It's part of the job."
He added, "The mayor will continue to support local restaurants and businesses as often as he can. He urges others to do the same."