Mayor Pepper-Sprays Maskless Man After Confronting Him About Covid Rules
A US mayor pepper-sprayed a man without a face mask after confronting him about COVID-19 restrictions.
Ted Wheeler, the Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, was approached by a man holding a video camera on Sunday evening, January 24, as per a police report.
Wheeler had just been out for a meal with a former mayor, Sam Adams, when he was confronted. Soon after, he pepper-sprayed him as he lawmaker felt concerned for his safety.
The middle-aged, maskless man took criticism of Wheeler outside the McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery and Public House, accusing him of dining without masks. However, the mayor explained that because he was sitting a tented area, he didn’t require a face covering under current COVID-19 regulations.
The man then closely followed Wheeler to his car. ‘He had no face mask on and got within a foot or two of my face while he was videoing me. I became imminently concerned for my personal safety,’ he told police, as per Oregon Live.
Wheeler continued: ‘I clearly informed him that he needed to back off. He did not do so I informed him that I was carrying pepper spray and that I would use it if he did not back off. He remained at close distance, I pulled out my pepper spray and I sprayed him in the eyes.’
After spraying him, the mayor offered a bottle of water so he could rinse his face. While Wheeler didn’t recognise the man, police have identified him as a partner at a law firm.
Tim Becker, a spokesman for Wheeler, also said: ‘The mayor is cooperating with the police investigation and encourages others involved to do the same.’
Oregon has seen more than 139,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,909 deaths. As a whole, the US has experienced more than 25.5 million cases, with more than 425,000 deaths.
Shortly after his inauguration, Joe Biden asked the American public to ‘mask up’ for 100 days in order to fight the pandemic as his administration tries to organise a vaccine distribution strategy. He also said it was ‘stupid’ that wearing a face covering had become politicised.
The president said: ‘This is a patriotic act… we’re asking you, we’re in a war with this virus. For God’s sake, wear a mask – if not for yourself, for your loved ones, for your country.’
Taking aim at Republicans who refused to wear a mask during the Capitol riots, he earlier said: ‘What the hell is the matter with them? It’s time to grow up.’
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