UPDATE (Oct. 3, 1:35 p.m. PT) — The union that represents Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents has asked the Oregon Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation into Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. They want Wheeler, who is the city’s police commissioner, to relinquish his supervisory authority over the Portland Police Bureau.
“We believe that Mr. Wheeler has committed the crime of official misconduct,” stated an Oct. 3 letter sent by Sean Riddell, a Portland-based attorney representing the union. “Our attempts to compel Mr. Wheeler to take reasonable action correct and/or cease his criminal activity have been unsuccessful.”
During an extended protest outside of a south Portland ICE facility over the federal government’s family separation policy along the U.S.-Mexico border, Wheeler said he would not use city police resources to break up the protest.
The letter states that after June 20, when Wheeler declared he didn’t want the Portland Police Bureau “sucked into a conflict” with a federal agency he disagreed with, the crowd around the Portland ICE office grew. Riddell claims that Wheeler didn’t enforce several city ordinances and state laws, including disorderly conduct, riot, harassment, and prohibited camping on public property and public rights of way.
Records obtained by OPB show Portland Police officers responded to at least 12 calls for service around the Portland ICE office on South Macadam Avenue after June 20.
“Make no mistake,” Wheeler said in a statement Wednesday. “They are coming after me because I am a vocal opponent of the administration’s policy of separating kids from their parents. Now we know many of these kids will be permanently orphaned as a result. That is wrong. I’m outraged by it. Previous claims made by Sean Riddell have fallen apart upon further inspection and these claims, if investigated, will too.”
Riddell is a former Oregon Department of Justice chief criminal attorney who resigned in 2011 at the request of the then attorney general John Kroger, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
A spokeswoman for the Oregon DOJ says the agency is reviewing the letter.