Riots in Portland and Oregon have been going on for weeks
The Mayor of Portland demanded on Friday that President Donald Trump remove armed federal agents from the city after they began detaining people on the streets of Portland away from the federal property that the agents were supposed to protect. This is stated in a statement by the Associated Press.
“Keep your military in their own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler said at a news conference addressing the president.
Oregon Governor Democrat Keith Brown suggested that Trump is going into a confrontation in hopes of scoring political points ahead of the election, as well as trying to distract attention from the coronavirus pandemic, which has escalated both in Oregon and across the country.
Governor’s spokesman Charles Boyle said on Friday that arresting people without good cause is “an extremely serious violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights.”
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has said she will file a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, the Marshall Service, the Customs and Border Protection Service, and the Federal Guard Service, alleging that they violated the civil rights of Oregonians by detaining them without sufficient cause. The state attorney will also seek an interim injunction against federal action. Federal authorities have indicted at least 13 people associated with the Portland protests. Some of these people were detained outside the federal courthouse, near which there had been riots in recent weeks, but others were seized a few blocks from the federal building. Customs and Border Protection said that its agents had information that one of the detained people suspected of assaulting federal agents or destroying federal property.
“As soon as the agents of the Customs and Border Protection approached the suspect, a huge and aggressive crowd began to move in their direction. For general safety reasons, agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location, ”the statement said.
Portland attorney Billy Williams said Friday that he had asked the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the actions of Department officials in the city.
On Friday, two Oregon senators and two Oregon members of the House of Representatives demanded that US Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf immediately withdraw “federal paramilitaries from our state.”
Members of Congress also said they would ask the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice to investigate the presence and operations of federal forces in Portland.
Wolfe visited Portland on Thursday and called the protesters who protest against racism and police brutality “brutal anarchists.” Wolfe accused the state and city authorities of not ending the protests. However, Portland police said Friday they had arrested 20 people overnight.
Several riots took place in Portland on Thursday night, one near a federal courthouse and another near a police station on the other side of town. Police ordered protesters to leave the site after protesters chanted calls to set the building on fire. One of the protesters later said the chant was “a rhetorical statement rather than a real call” for arson.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters Friday that his officers are in contact with federal agents, but they are not in control of each other’s actions.
“We are talking to federal officials for situational awareness and conflict resolution,” Lovell said. “We work in very, very close proximity to each other.”