After protest, riots, arson and vandalism for over 50 days, federal agents advanced to protect property by deploying tear gas and non-lethal projectiles for crowd control.
Federal agents armed with tear gas and non-lethal projectiles or impact munitions have stepped up the use of force to control crowds that have been committing acts of arson and vandalism for over 50 days.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has asked the Department of Homeland Security to leave, and liberal politicians have begun to accuse President Donald Trump of appealing to his base as the reason he is sending federal agents to Portland, and possibly other cities, where predominantly Democrat majors had lost control of the streets where protests have been hijacked with rioting.
The initial stated goal of federal agents was the safety and security of federal personnel, and the protection of federal buildings from damage from arson and vandalism and to keep federal personnel safe. Around July 4, 2020 federal agents moved demonstrators blocks away — a significant distance from federal property. Subsequently in July their were reports that the tactics of federal agent became increasingly aggressive.
Portland Police Bureau is reported to have used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds as early as June 5, 2020. However, several media sources and social media sources have noted an increase in the level of force and aggression with the deployment of the federal agents.
“Last night I was tear-gassed by a federal occupying force I saw throw canisters of poison, without warning, into a nonviolent crowd, including elders, the vulnerable.” Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, who is also an emergency room physician put herself in harms way at the riot.
KOIN 6 News video captures federal officers using tear gas, pepper balls and flash bangs against protesters on July 21, 2020.
Protesters and rioters started bringing down statues before June 26, 2020. Trump responded by signing an executive order to protect statues and monuments across the United States. He described the vandalism and destruction of statues as “criminal violence” arising from the protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Statues of Confederate generals and other slave-owning historic figures were either removed or pulled down by protesters. A statue of George Washington in Northeast Portland was toppled on June 18, 2020 — the eve of the Juneteenth holiday. A statue of Thomas Jefferson had already been toppled.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent officers to Portland, Seattle, Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection memo dated July 1, 2020 stated that the executive order created a DHS task force to “surge” federal law enforcement resources to protect against potential civil unrest.
On July 4, 2020 a large crowd of protesters and rioters surrounded the Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and aimed consumer fireworks and commercial-grade fireworks at the buildings. Green laser pointers were also aimed at federal personnel. Federal agents, secured by plywood board-up at the vandalized buildings, fired impact munitions at the protesters and rioters. U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), and the Federal Protective Service were defending the buildings, and the use of a device with a heavier flow of tear gas stream was reported on social media.
With the civil unrest of 2020, a narrative spread across the United States criticizing the appropriate use of the terms protesters, peaceful protesters, and rioters. Conservatives were demanding media use the term rioters instead of protesters, and left extremists have preferred the use of the term protesters while gaining advantage using violence, vandalism, and arson embedded with so-called peaceful protests — either by clandestine design or hijacking the protest with rioting. The progressive left is also critical of classification of protests as ‘good protests’ or ‘bad protests’, claiming the process is an effort to marginalize specific causes — a method of Divide and Conquer of protesters.
On July 11, 2020 a male protester suffered a fractured skull when he was struck by an impact munitions projectile fired allegedly by a federal agent. Around July 15, 2020 there were also reports that federal personnel with non-specific identifiers on uniforms apprehended protesters or rioters off the streets in Portland and placed them in unmarked vehicles.
On July 18, 2020 Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty ordered that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also the police commissioner in Portland, turn over day-to-day management of Portland police to her.
On July 19, 2020 with scenes of graffiti covering buildings and fires burning in the city following 50 days of rioting, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the presence of federal troops is escalating violence, and that he wants the federal agents to leave. He said “unconstitutional tactics” by the feds is threatening the democracy of the United States. Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan responded to the statement, saying that Wheeler’s statement is not based in reality or fact and without acknowledgement that rioters are willfully coordinating, organizing, and planning to intentionally attack and destroy federal property and harm federal agents and officers.
Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, speaks to CNN’s Jake Tapper about what he says are the unconstitutional actions of federal troops in Portland.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to CNN’s Don Lemon about the clash between protesters and federal agents in his city, calling the agents’ tactics “very un-American” and “abhorrent.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made a ‘stupid statement’ not based in reality or fact that rioters are willfully coordinating, organizing, and planning to intentionally attack and destroy federal property and harm federal agents and officers, Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan tells Bret Baier on Fox News.
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