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

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Cases: 175121

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34937568
Washington23491229
Marion20195299
Clackamas15386204
Lane11591144
Jackson9923127
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Deschutes712972
Linn416063
Yamhill410175
Klamath349059
Polk344252
Malheur342858
Josephine306362
Douglas304765
Benton273218
Jefferson207032
Coos197531
Columbia154526
Union141624
Lincoln130220
Wasco129128
Hood River112529
Morrow107915
Clatsop8958
Crook88019
Baker85814
Curry5959
Tillamook5813
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3718210

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Los Angeles122899723653
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2947794555
San Diego2749603674
Orange2689624896
Santa Clara1170812013
Kern1078591322
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Contra Costa67019782
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Tulare49383829
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41157560
San Francisco36032523
Santa Barbara33896446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29696311
Imperial27987719
Kings22774245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16260239
Santa Cruz15571204
Marin13861226
Yolo13580200
Shasta11677217
Butte11573196
El Dorado9719109
Napa966679
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598663
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada445775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362551
Humboldt358737
Lake340943
Glenn235725
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
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