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Senators Merkley and Wyden demand federal officers leave Portland

(Photo courtesy Doug Brown / ACLU of Oregon)

Four members of Oregon's congressional delegation sent a letter on Friday, criticizing the 'authoritarian tactics' used by federal law enforcement officers against protesters in downtown Portland.

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 5:37 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Hot on the heels of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief's visit to Portland, four members of Oregon's congressional delegation are demanding that U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf remove their "special forces" from the state.

Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden were joined by Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici in drafting a letter addressed to the Trump appointees, calling the methods used by federal officers "politically-motivated authoritarian tactics."


(Photo courtesy Doug Brown / ACLU of Oregon)

Acting Secretary Wolf criticized local leaders on Thursday, saying that the city of Portland was "under siege" by groups that he repeatedly referred to as "violent anarchists." His visit appeared to largely consist of meetings with federal officers who have increasingly been involved in clashes with protesters outside of the federal Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse.

Merkley and Wyden have been critical of federal law enforcement's response in Portland, particularly following recent reports that a protester had been hospitalized after being shot in the head with a "less lethal" round, and allegations that agents have use unmarked vehicles to detain and question protestors without explanation.

“These tactics include deploying federal agents without identifying insignia in an apparent effort to evade transparency and accountability, snatching people off the street with no apparent reason for apprehension, and using potentially deadly munitions to harm peaceful protesters. These actions are out of control,” the Oregon delegates wrote. “They are more reflective of tactics of a government led by a dictator, not from the government of our constitutional democratic republic.”

The same group of U.S. lawmakers have requested that the DOJ and DHS offices of the Inspector General investigate the tactics used by federal officers in Portland.

"The message crafted by the Trump administration to justify this escalation of force and intimidation in Portland borders on propaganda, apparently to serve the President’s perceived political interests," the lawmakers continued. "This is unacceptable under our Constitution. There are undoubtedly dangerous acts being committed by a small number of individuals. Yet a Department of Homeland Security press release refers to ‘violent anarchists’ 72 times while describing graffiti. Meanwhile, the President’s re-election campaign is running ads warning of ‘lawlessness’ and ‘radical left-wing mobs.’”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 139355

Reported Deaths: 1904
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah29403466
Washington19370183
Marion16840250
Clackamas12186142
Lane8850113
Jackson723497
Umatilla702874
Deschutes528341
Yamhill333851
Linn322950
Malheur321755
Polk259940
Klamath256848
Josephine186836
Benton184614
Douglas180547
Jefferson173925
Union115817
Wasco112723
Columbia108218
Lincoln104417
Coos102116
Hood River99423
Morrow96810
Clatsop7185
Crook66914
Baker5835
Tillamook3732
Curry3275
Lake2605
Grant2171
Harney1906
Wallowa1003
Gilliam531
Sherman480
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3235045

Reported Deaths: 38268
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles108548815614
San Bernardino2685421719
Riverside2668492970
Orange2391752768
San Diego2300662421
Santa Clara991741278
Kern91119591
Fresno863361084
Sacramento846531194
Alameda71298906
Ventura67066546
San Joaquin60545844
Contra Costa55593492
Stanislaus49500803
Tulare43574542
Monterey38434261
San Mateo34510356
San Francisco30734293
Santa Barbara27149267
Solano27141118
Imperial25745510
Merced25743332
Sonoma25160251
Kings20223161
Placer18034188
San Luis Obispo17151161
Madera14068175
Santa Cruz13088136
Marin12067166
Yolo11276146
Shasta10144132
Butte9865136
El Dorado824566
Sutter812984
Napa807050
Lassen530916
San Benito523851
Yuba522730
Tehama456446
Tuolumne351241
Nevada339473
Mendocino332236
Amador307433
Lake272932
Humboldt265227
Glenn202822
Colusa19079
Calaveras171323
Siskiyou150413
Mono11454
Inyo105329
Del Norte8783
Plumas6185
Modoc3924
Mariposa3575
Trinity3065
Sierra950
Alpine740
Unassigned00
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