Mayor Ted Wheeler is rejecting accusations that Portland police failed to respond to 911 calls from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents during the recent protest at their agency's Southwest Portland facility.
The accusations were made by Sean Riddel, the legal representative for the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, in a Monday letter to Wheeler. It charged that the mayor prohibited police from responding to the calls from the employees when their lives were endangered by protesters, both at the facility and on their personal time.
According to Riddell, the denial of service violated the U.S. Constitution's guarentees of equal protection under the law.
But in a letter released late Tuesday afternoon, Wheeler claims Riddell had previously said that was not the case.
"In fact, when a Portland city attorney contacted you to discuss your claims, you made clear that your letter did not contend that PPB failed to respond to any 911 call for emergency services," reads Wheeler's letter to Riddell.
Wheeler admits that he "consistently stated that I did not want the Portland Police Bureau to be engaged or sucked into a conflict for the purpose of securing federal property that houses a federal agency with their own federal police force."
Wheeler says Riddell stated instead that he only had "unconfirmed reports from sources that I am not at liberty to disclose that assert the City of Portland did not respond to 911 calls."
Wheeler left open the possibility of a further response by writing, "Given that the policy you cite does not and has not existed, and there are no confirmed examples of police failing to respond to calls for service, I ask you to send any additional information you believe supports the assertions in your letter."
The 38-day protest ended last Friday when Wheeler directed the police and cleanup crews to clear the protester's camp because of health and safety concerns.
You can read Wheeler's letter here.
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