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Federal officers sent to Portland, Oregon continue to clash with protesters/rioters

PHOTO CREDITS: PBS

Federal officers sent to Portland, Oregon to protect a Federal Courthouse, under an Executive Order signed by President Trump on June 26, have clashed with protesters/rioters there in recent days (CBS). ~

There have been reports of federal officers using sharpshooters to maim protesters, using tear gas, shooting protesters in the head with kinetic impact munitions, and arresting protesters without warrant or stated cause (ACLU). Witnesses have also stated that federal law enforcement were dressed in camouflage and detained protesters in unmarked vehicles; Chad Wolf, the acting DHS Secretary, has reported that 43 arrests were made between July 4th and July 21st (BBC). Wolf has defended the actions of federal officers, noting that the Portland Police Association building had been set on fire, fencing around the federal courthouse had been repeatedly torn down by protesters, and that some protesters near the courthouse were armed with hammers and were throwing projectiles (BBC). ~

Federal officers were deployed in Portland to protect a Federal Courthouse, under an Executive Order signed by President Trump on June 26th to protect federal monuments (CBS). Wolf has stated that the federal civilian officers were placed to restore order in the city due to “a lack of action from city officials” (BBC). ~

It is noted that several civil rights organizations have successfully sued and blocked local police from using tear gas, and that the ACLU of Oregon has filed a lawsuit that prohibits police in Portland from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or directing physical force against journalists or legal observers (ACLU). ~

The state of Oregon is also filing a lawsuit against the DHS to require officers to identify themselves, and to explain why they are arresting or detaining a person before doing so (OPB); In most states, officers are not required to show any identification, though if a person is detained or arrested by an officer, they have the right to ask why (ACLU). ~

Local and state officials have requested that federal officers leave the city, stating that officers have exacerbated the unrest (Al Jazeera). Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has also criticized the actions of these officers, comparing them to the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square in Washington DC on June 1st (Al Jazeera). ~

Wolf, however, has defended the officers, stating that they were only targeting and arresting demonstrators who had been identified as being involved in “criminal activity” (BBC). Wolf also denies claims that officers were unidentified (BBC). President Trump has defended the actions of federal officers as well, saying that they “are trying to help Portland, not hurt it” (CBS). ~

ARTICLE: DANIEL ENGLAND

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