Three weeks ago, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was standing shoulder to shoulder with angry protesters, gagging on tear gas in a show of solidarity against federal agents sent there to restore order.
Now, the federal agents are gone as Wheeler's city continues to spiral out of control.
On Thursday evening, Wheeler condemned rioters who tried to torch a police precinct after blocking the exits while officers were still inside, according to Fox News.
"When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder," said Wheeler in a joint press conference with Police Chief Chuck Lovell.
"Don’t think for a moment that you are if you are participating in this activity, you are not being a prop for the reelection campaign of Donald Trump — because you absolutely are," he added. "You are creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during this campaign. If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up."
On Wednesday, a riot was declared after protesters swarmed the Portland Police Bureau's East Precinct Building - breaking glass doors, lighting a fire using an accelerant, throwing fireworks and other objects at officers, and spray-painting over security cameras. According to the report, someone in a truck also tried to run over police officers.
The front doors of the precinct were barricaded before the fire was started with more than 20 officers and civilian employees inside, police said, according to FOX 12.
Officers used tear gas to disperse the rioters and at least eight people were arrested. A federal court order bars police from using tear gas unless a riot is declared.
“I believe that city staff could have died last night,” Wheeler said. “I cannot and I will not tolerate that. This is not peaceful protests. This is not advocacy to advance reforms.” -Fox News
"If you are a nonviolent demonstrator and you don’t want to be part of intentional violence, please stay away from these areas," said Wheeler. "Our community must say that this violence is not Portland, that these actions do not reflect our values and these crimes are distracting from reform, not advancing."
Wheeler says he anticipates "additional planned attacks on public buildings" in the next few days - and has authorized police to do what is necessary to respond as long as peaceful protesters aren't threatened.