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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: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
Yamhill737299
Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
Jefferson310446
Lincoln272829
Union266036
Wasco236739
Crook212137
Clatsop210225
Tillamook179623
Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4620663

Reported Deaths: 67781
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144072125799
Riverside3561924786
San Diego3481004002
San Bernardino3456445474
Orange3135295344
Sacramento1494582070
Santa Clara1398391835
Fresno1347291868
Kern1343971515
Alameda1155381318
Ventura972861115
San Joaquin965701608
Contra Costa95152917
Stanislaus800341229
Tulare72268894
San Mateo51984607
San Francisco51582605
Monterey49321562
Solano43887312
Santa Barbara42872497
Sonoma39192376
Merced38977532
Placer36118358
Imperial34105753
Kings29822280
San Luis Obispo28136310
Madera21520258
Butte20994230
Shasta20308276
Santa Cruz20066211
Yolo19040239
Marin17020242
El Dorado15864127
Sutter12955152
Napa1219395
Yuba915461
Nevada839485
Humboldt819084
Tehama810983
San Benito706167
Mendocino676471
Lassen634127
Tuolumne605593
Lake596487
Amador486658
Glenn394630
Siskiyou383241
Calaveras334566
Del Norte330134
Colusa289718
Inyo164939
Mono14625
Plumas12076
Mariposa96712
Trinity70510
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1170
Alpine990
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