The Department of Homeland Security has deployed officers in tactical gear from around the country, and from more than a half dozen federal law enforcement agencies and departments, to Portland, Oregon, as part of a surge aimed at what a senior official said were people taking advantage of demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd to commit violence and vandalism.
“Once we surged federal law enforcement officers to Portland, the agitators quickly got the message,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing operation.
Things have gotten a little quieter since antifa started attacking the federal courthouse. The prospect of lengthy federal prison terms may have something to do with that.
In the same besieged US District Courthouse antifa-friendly federal judges have responded to ACLU lawsuits to limit the Portland Police Bureau’s use of tear gas and other riot control measures.
The police meanwhile are probably welcoming both the feds’ help and their absorption of a good deal of antifa energy.
They stand otherwise alone as city government seems determined to wait out the long siege–to the last demoralized cop.
Portland Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said his department did not request the assistance and did not coordinate efforts with the federal government amid often chaotic clashes that have ranged across several downtown blocks after midnight for weeks.
“I don’t have authority to order federal officers to do things,” Davis said. “It does complicate things for us.”
Federal authorities are not subject the limitations placed on police
Civil liberties advocates and activists have accused federal authorities of overstepping their jurisdiction and excessive use of crowd-control measures, including using tear gas and patrolling beyond the boundaries of federal property. Portland police are prohibited from using tear gas under a recent temporary court order unless they declare a riot.
Police have promised not to declare a riot again and as protests ease up somewhat they are spendng most of their time sheltering in place. The Oregonian cites Trump’s executive order protecting monuments, but federal law enforcement’s role in protecting such as the federal courthouse is their normal function–the order is not necessary.
Trump issued an executive order on June 26 to protect monuments after protesters tried to remove or destroy statues of people considered racist, including a failed attempt to pull down one of Andrew Jackson near the White House.
To cap off this misdirection the paper cites the ubiquitous “unnamed former official” (maybe there’s only one out there):
A former DHS official said BORTAC agents were viewed as “highly trained, valuable, scarce resources” and would typically be used for domestic law enforcement in extraordinary circumstances. “These units don’t normally sit around idle,” said the official, who spoke on condition anonymity because he no longer works at the agency, after serving under Trump and President Barack Obama, and is not authorized to discuss operations.“What did they get pulled off of in order to watch over statues?”
Nothing extraordinary going on in Portland apparently. And, sadly, no one is protecting our statues (or streets, or businesses, or public buildings).