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Portland Protesters

Portland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence diminished | TheHill – The Hill

Two protesters were arrested Saturday evening in Portland, Ore., as demonstrators and law enforcement clashed for the first time in several days.

The Associated Press reported that a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement occurred near a precinct for the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Officers alleged they were struck with glass bottles and had laser pointers aimed in their direction. No officers were injured, including one who was struck with a canister of paint, according to the AP.

Police reportedly declared an unlawful assembly just before 10 p.m. local time and ordered crowds to disperse.

Across town a separate, peaceful demonstration hosted by the NAACP and attended by Oregon Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyNew York police confirm arrest of protester in unmarked van Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was ‘unprovoked escalation’ | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (D) was held outside the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse. Speakers talked about political progress arising from the weeks of demonstrations in the city and others across the U.S.

“The next thing we need you to do is vote like your life depends on it, because guess what, it does,” Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty told demonstrators at the courthouse, according to the AP.

Demonstrations in the city have largely remained peaceful over the last several days as the federal law enforcement presence began withdrawing from city streets. 

City officials and state leaders had sharply criticized the Trump administration’s decision to deploy agents from the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, accusing federal law enforcement of inflaming tensions in the city. Images and videos posted on social media that showed federal agents wearing unmarked uniforms detaining protesters off the street in the city had sparked outrage last month.

Protests against racism and police brutality have continued for months in numerous American cities following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in late May. One white officer is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s case.

Updated at 8 p.m.

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Portland protest

Portland protest groups sue U.S. over tear gas, rubber bullets – POLITICO

It claimed the tactics are unlawful and said the presence of the agents in Portland violates “a foundational principle of American democracy” because the agents are essentially performing local police duties that are reserved for state and local authorities.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. after Portland’s mayor and the leaders of five other major U.S. cities appealed to Congress to make it illegal for the U.S. government to deploy agents to cities that don’t want them.

“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” said the letter sent to U.S. House and Senate leaders from the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Washington.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty late Monday asked Wolf for a meeting to discuss a cease-fire and their desire for the removal of the extra federal agents deployed to Portland.

But U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams insisted Monday that the agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Protective service will remain in Portland as long protesters continue attacking the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse continue.

Protests have roiled Portland for two months since the death of George Floyd, the Black man who died May 25 after he was pinned by the neck for nearly eight minutes by a white Minneapolis police officer.

In Portland, the demonstrations have increasingly targeted the federal courthouse and protesters have tried almost every night to tear down a fence erected to protect the building, set fires in the street and hurled fireworks, Molotov cocktails and bricks, rocks and bottles at the agents inside.

“It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel,” Williams said. ”We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so.”

Protesters filled the streets again into the early hours Tuesday, gathering for the 60th night on the city block where the courthouse is located. They were met with tear gas, pepper balls and stun grenades fired by the federal agents guarding the building.

Hours after the smoke cleared in Portland, Attorney General William Barr appeared Tuesday in Congress and defended the aggressive federal law enforcement response to civil unrest, saying that “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests” sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Barr told members of the House Judiciary Committee at a much-anticipated election year hearing that the violence in Portland and other cities is disconnected from Floyd’s killing, which he called a “horrible” event that prompted a needed national reckoning on the relationship between the Black community and law enforcement.

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said of the Portland protests.

The U.S. Marshals Service has lined up about 100 people who could be sent to hotspots, either to strengthen forces or relieve officers who have been working for weeks, agency spokesperson Drew Wade said.

Kris Cline, principal deputy director of Federal Protective Service, said an incident commander in Portland and teams from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice discuss what level of force is needed every night.

Cline declined to discuss the number of officers currently present or if more would be arriving.

Cline said Portland police should take over the job of dispersing protesters from the courthouse area from the federal officers.

“If the Portland Police Bureau were able to do what they typically do, they would be able to clear this out for this disturbance and we would leave our officers inside the building and not be visible,” Cline said.

Portland police have also come under fire for using tear gas to disperse protesters before the federal agents began defending the courthouse. A federal court order has recently barred them from using tear gas unless the police declared a riot — which they have done on several occasions.

Wheeler, the mayor, is deeply unpopular with some Portland residents for what they see as his failure to rein in the local police.

Portland’s City Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to send a ballot measure to voters in November that would create a review board for the Police Bureau that’s independent from elected officials and city departments. The police union opposes the idea and has called the move illegal.

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mayor Portland

Portland Mayor Hit With Tear Gas Deployed by Federal Agents – The New York Times

Mayor Ted Wheeler denounced federal officers for an “egregious overreaction.” Some protesters mocked him, recalling the city police’s use of tear gas on demonstrators.

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‘Egregious Overreaction’: Portland Mayor Is Tear Gassed by Federal Officers

Federal officers tear gassed Mayor Ted Wheeler as they sprayed into a crowd of protesters he joined outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore.

[coughing] [blast] “I’m not going to lie, it stings. It’s hard to breathe. And I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response. It’s nasty stuff. I’m not afraid, but I am pissed off.” Reporter: “What are you pissed about?” “This, this is an egregious overreaction on the part of the federal officers. There was nothing that I saw here that warranted this reaction. And all it’s doing as you can see, it hasn’t stopped the crowd. They’ve fired munitions, they’ve fired tear gas. All it’s done is piss everybody off even more. Just made people angry. They’ve come in and they’ve kicked a hornet’s nest. This is not a deescalation strategy. This is flat out urban warfare, and it’s being brought on the people of this country by the president of the United States. And it’s got to stop now.” [yelling] “See you out here tomorrow night, huh?” [yelling] “You better be here every night, Ted.”

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Federal officers tear gassed Mayor Ted Wheeler as they sprayed into a crowd of protesters he joined outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore.CreditCredit…Mike Baker/The New York Times

Mike Baker

PORTLAND, Ore. — The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was left coughing and wincing in the middle of his own city Wednesday night after federal officers deployed tear gas into a crowd of protesters that Mr. Wheeler had joined outside the federal courthouse.

Mr. Wheeler, who scrambled to put on goggles while denouncing what he called the “urban warfare” tactic of the federal agents, said he was outraged by the use of tear gas and that it was only making protesters more angry.

“I’m not going to lie — it stings; it’s hard to breathe,” Mr. Wheeler said. “And I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.”

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‘They Pushed Portland Too Far’: How Trump’s Crackdown Strengthened Protests

President Trump’s deployment of federal agents is fueling the unrest in Portland, where protests have continued for over 50 consecutive days.

“Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go. Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go. Hey hey, ho ho.” “I’m here right now because the feds are here, and that’s terrifying to me as a citizen.” President Trump’s deployment of federal agents is fueling the unrest in Portland, where protests have continued for over 50 consecutive days. “This represents a new turning point, and that’s really scary.” Protesters tell us that the presence of federal forces is bringing more people to the streets. “They have no business being here. As soon as they showed up, they pushed Portland too far, and as long as they are hurting innocent citizens — the moms, the dads — everybody’s coming out.” Crowd: “Yes!” “Ahhhh!” Crowd: “Ahhhh!” “Ahhhh!” Crowd: “Ahhhh!” “That’s the sound of frustration.” “I think that people are becoming reinvigorated by seeing how they’re treating us. The energy has definitely changed in the past week, like way more people here the past two nights than I’ve seen since we started. We’re going to continue doing this, and we’re going to continue doing it peacefully.” “There we go, Portland.” “When we are together as a unit, when we are together we’re not afraid. We have each other’s back. When we have each other’s back, we show who the real strength is.” “The biggest thing today that’s changed is that you see people of all ages. You know, this has really been led by a kind of Generation Z feeling, and right now we’re seeing a larger swath of Portland coming together, and my parents’ generation is finally paying attention.” “Say her name!” Crowd: “Breonna Taylor.” “Say her name!” Crowd: “Breonna Taylor!” People initially came out to protest systemic racism and police violence, but say the federal response has raised the stakes. “My friends got tear-gassed, time and time again. And tear gas is internationally banned in war, and they’re using it on our streets, on our young people. This is only my second day. I was scared before, but I’ve had enough.” “Whose lives matter?” Crowd: “Black lives matter!” “We want Black lives to matter just as much as white lives, and we want to protect the children.” “We know they’re out here. It doesn’t matter. We’re still going to be out here protesting.” “Portland, are you scared?” Crowd: “Hell no!” “I ain’t scared!” Crowd: “I ain’t scared!” “I ain’t scared!” Crowd: “I ain’t scared!” “Trump had no business sending people here. We are standing up for what we believe in.”

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President Trump’s deployment of federal agents is fueling the unrest in Portland, where protests have continued for over 50 consecutive days.

He called it an “egregious overreaction” on the part of the federal officers, and not a de-escalation strategy.

“It’s got to stop now,” he declared.

But the Democratic mayor, 57, has also long been the target of Portland protesters infuriated by the city police’s own use of tear gas, which was persistent until a federal judge ordered the city to use it only when there was a safety issue. As Mr. Wheeler went through the crowds on Wednesday, some threw objects in his direction, and others called for his resignation, chanting, “Tear Gas Teddy.”

After a large wave of tear gas sent Mr. Wheeler away from the scene, some protesters mocked him, asking how it felt. Mr. Wheeler said that joining the protesters at the front of the line was just one way he was going to try to rid the city of the federal tactical teams.

“A lot of these people hate my guts,” Mr. Wheeler said in an interview, looking around at the crowd. But he said they were unified in wanting federal officers gone.

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Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

The mayor has called for federal agents to leave the city after they arrived to subdue the city’s long-running unrest. Dressed in camouflage and tactical gear and unleashing tear gas, federal officers have clashed violently with protesters and pulled some people into unmarked vans in what Gov. Kate Brown called “a blatant abuse of power.”

Some protesters called the mayor’s arrival at the protest scene a photo op. Sean Smith, who has been at the protests for weeks, said Mr. Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner, needs to take more action to control his Police Department and align with protesters.

“He should probably be out here every night,” Mr. Smith said.

By early Thursday morning, with protesters still outside both the federal courthouse and the county justice center across the street, federal officers continued deploying tear gas and the Portland Police Bureau repeatedly warned that city officers might also use it.

The demonstrations, fueled by a wide array of grievances, including against police brutality, have rocked Portland for 55 consecutive nights, persisting even as other protests have waned in many other parts of the country since the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

The city has become a target of President Trump, who has embraced a law-and-order message in his re-election campaign. While federal officers were deployed to Portland to purportedly quell unrest and protect federal property, their arrival has only galvanized the movement, with the numbers of protesters each night swelling into the thousands.

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Credit…Octavio Jones for The New York Times

On Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, protesters gathered around a temporary fence that federal officers had erected during the day. They shot fireworks at the building, and some breached the fence. Federal officers, wearing camouflage and tactical gear, emerged to fire tear gas and less-lethal munitions, and to arrest those who breached the fence.

While the Trump administration has labeled the protesters “violent anarchists,” Mr. Wheeler decided to go into the crowd on Wednesday night for what he deemed a “listening session,” and even after people were following and cursing him, he ended up spending three hours there.

At times he was jeered, such as when he told the crowd that he would not promise to abolish the Police Department. Other times, he drew cheers, such as when he demanded that the federal government “stop occupying our city.”

“If they launch the tear gas against you, they are launching the tear gas against me,” Mr. Wheeler said.

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mayor Portland

Portland mayor: Trump administration policing tactics are ‘abhorrent’ – CNN

Washington (CNN)The Democratic mayor of Portland slammed the Trump administration on Sunday for its response to ongoing protests in the city, saying federal agents deployed there are denying protesters due process during arrests.

“The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent,” Mayor Ted Wheeler told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars, apparently. They are being denied probable cause. And they are denied due process. They don’t even know who’s pulling them into the vans. The people aren’t identifying themselves. And, as far as I can see, this is completely unconstitutional,” Wheeler said.
Demonstrators in Portland have been protesting racial inequality and police brutality for the past 50 nights, US Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a statement. Federal authorities have protected the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse and, at times, interaction between protesters and law enforcement has gotten violent. Last weekend, one protester was seriously injured after the man was shot in the head with impact munition.
Recent videos from the scenes of the protests show Department of Homeland Security personnel arresting protesters and putting them in unmarked SUVs. In one such video that was shared on Twitter by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, two masked, camouflaged individuals with generic “police” patches, detain a person dressed in a black outfit and place them in an unmarked van before driving away.
Earlier Sunday, President Donald Trump, who has called for an aggressive federal response to protests around the country, weighed in on his administration’s actions in the city in a tweet, writing: “We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it.”
The New York Times reported on Saturday that federal law enforcement agents who have been deployed to the city “were not specifically trained in riot control or mass demonstrations,” according to an internal DHS memo the newspaper obtained.
The Times said the memo was dated Thursday and was prepared for Chad Wolf, the department’s acting secretary, ahead of a trip he took to the city that day to view the site of the ongoing protests.
“Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies,” the memo reads, according to the Times, which noted that the document appears to anticipate “future encounters with protesters (and federal agents) in other cities.”
The newspaper said some of the agents sent by DHS to Portland “include officials from a group known as BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a S.W.A.T. team, a highly trained group that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations, as opposed to protesters in cities.”
The presence of federal agents in Portland has set up a clash between the city’s leaders and Washington, DC. Oregon’s governor, Wheeler and Merkley have all demanded the federal officers be withdrawn.
“We’re demanding that the President remove these additional troops that he sent to our city. It is not helping to contain or de-escalate the situation it’s obviously having exactly the opposite impact,” Wheeler said last week.
When Wolf visited the city last Thursday he defended the actions of his officers, saying in a tweet, “DHS officers were assaulted with lasers and frozen water bottles from violent criminals attempting to tear down federal property. 2 officers were injured.”
“Our men and women in uniform are patriots,” he said in another tweet that featured uniformed officers who looked to be similar to the ones shown in the video from last week.

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