OR lawmakers sue federal law enforcement over response to protests

Thursday, 23 Jul, 2020

It's no surprise that Trump is using Portland to assert his authority, attack his rivals, and distract the public from his political woes. "But the notion that a handful of federal crimes justifies a substantial deployment of federal law enforcement officers ... to show force on the streets is, to my mind, unprecedented".

Two dozen agents will be sent to Albuquerque, and the administration made available $1.5 million in funding for the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department for five new deputies and $9.4 million for 40 new Albuquerque officers.

They're the kind of scenes you'd expect to see in a dystopian movie: unidentifiable military guards grabbing protesters from the streets and putting them into unmarked vehicles; a photojournalist getting shot 10 times with impact munition by federal agents; angry demonstrators storming a police union building and setting it on fire.

Earlier this week, President Trump said officers may be sent to other cities, including Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia.

Keller - who defended the department after officers tear-gassed protesters following the shooting at the Oñate demonstration last month - did not comment on Sunday's protest or the police response.

And Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced an amendment to the defense spending bill that would limit the use of federal law enforcement officers for crowd control. That includes the Border Patrol as well as Immigration Customs and Enforcement, which are seeing less of their usual activity because of COVID-19.

Although the federal courthouse has done nothing to provoke protestors and has been standing at the same spot since 1997, it has been a constant target.

Rioters have launched watch rockets, injuring an officer, while others attempted to blind officers by targeting their eyes with laser weapons.

Some wielded leaf blowers Monday night to help disperse tear gas as they marched down a major downtown street and joined up with several hundred Black Lives Matter protesters in front of the federal courthouse. Tensions escalated after an officer with the Marshals Service fired a less-lethal round at a protester's head on July 11, critically injuring him. We can not have secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles.

She added, "Instead, they bring more troops to the streets". What happens if one of those ill-trained agents sends a peaceful protester in Seattle to the hospital?

Most have been freed, but critics, including Oregon's governor and senators, likened it to "secret police" in more repressive societies.

Yes, to a certain extent.

Portland mom Bev Barnum said she was inspired to act after watching videos of the protests on Friday night.

The response follows a motion filed by 10 journalists and observers with the American Civil Liberties Union of OR seeking a temporary restraining order to hold federal officers to the same restrictions that a judge recently placed on Portland police. But as John Cohen, a former senior DHS official under Obama and President George W. Bush, noted, those were conducted in close cooperation with state and local authorities. They have also clashed violently with local police.

Then, anger flared again over the weekend after video surfaced of a federal agent hitting a U.S. Navy veteran repeatedly with a baton while another agent sprays him in the face with pepper spray. Chad Wolf to remove the agents from their cities.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said federal agents were repressing the US right to protest and he would not welcome federal agents there.

Trump has praised the DHS response and criticized local officials for letting a situation get "out of control".

"Simply put, the federal government has the legal obligation and right to protect federal property and federal officers, and the public has a compelling interest in the protection of that property and personnel, " Warden wrote.

Federal officers are already in Portland, Oregon, where the mayor says they are making ongoing protests worse.