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More US agents may go to Portland; mayors want limits

[Updated with additional detail at 2:40 p.m. Monday, July 27]

By ANDREW SELSKY and ARON RANEN

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The mayors of six U.S. cities appealed Monday to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarized federal agents to cities that don't want them, even as the Trump administration is considering sending more of them to Portland, Oregon.

“This administration's egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City Albuquerque and Washington D.C. wrote to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate.

Early Monday, U.S. agents repeatedly fired what appeared to be tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls at protesters outside the federal courthouse in downtown in Portland. Some protesters had climbed over the fence surrounding the courthouse, while others shot fireworks, banged on the fence and projected lights on the building.

President Donald Trump said Monday on Twitter that the federal properties in Portland “wouldn’t last a day” without the presence of the federal agents.

Homeland Security is considering sending about 50 additional Customs and Border Protection agents to Portland, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The plan has not been finalized and it’s not clear if the officers would be replacing the officers on the ground.

The Trump administration says the forces are needed in Portland to protect the courthouse and other federal buildings. But the mayors said the officers have patrolled areas distant from the federal properties and arrested citizens without cause.

The mayors said they support legislative efforts to require notice and consultation with and consent from local authorities before deployments; require visible identification at all times on federal agents and vehicles unless on an undercover mission authorized by the local U.S. Attorney; and impose limitations on federal agents’ crowd control activities to protecting federal property.

Some protesters have accused Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler of hypocrisy because he has allowed Portland police to use tear gas and other riot-control weapons on protesters, including peaceful ones.

Demonstrations in support of racial justice and police reform in other cities around the U.S. were hit with violence over the weekend Protesters set fire to an Oakland, California, courthouse; vehicles were set ablaze in Richmond, Virginia; an armed protester was shot and killed in Austin, Texas; and two people were shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado after a car drove through a protest.

Sunday evening, Portland police responded to a shooting at a park close to the site of the overnight protests. Two people were detained and later released, police said Monday morning. The person who was shot went to the hospital in a private vehicle and was treated for a non-life threatening wound.

Also late Sunday, police said someone pointed out a bag in the same park, where officers found loaded rifle magazines and Molotov cocktails. The shooting was not related to the items, police said. It was not clear whether the shooting or the material found in the bag was was connected to the protests.

The city has had nightly protests for two months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Trump said he sent federal agents to Portland to halt the unrest but state and local officials said they are making the situation worse.

 

 

 

Comments

snobrdhideout@aol.com

Mayors wants limits ? What Planet are these guys from ? need to take the next ship back. Who in their right mind would want any part of this to be limited ? Those of you out that are confused, Mobs, burning police cars, breaking in peoples homes, business's, are not peaceful protest & for peaceful protesters to mix with mobs is not reaching a peaceful end to better Laws. The Feds needs full support from the City in helping to end this uncalled for violence.

Tyler C

I have seen a lot of people post lists of things that protesters are supposedly doing in Portland that are mostly fictional. Saying that there are mobs burning police cars is a fiction. To say that the protesters are breaking into peoples homes is a fiction. Mostly, the protesters chant and yell and sing. It's true a few vandals are there but the police and the feds don't seem to have any interest in preventing the vandalism - in spite of that being their stated reason for being there. Instead, they use it as an excuse to tear gas, beat and fire flash-bangs at all protesters indiscriminately.

In fact, the police don't seem to have any plan or policy to deescalate the protests. Every night they attack American citizens for unclear reasons. The Portland police all swore an oath to protect the people of Portland and to uphold the constitution but they have broken that oath. All the vandalism downtown could be repaired in a weekend but the damage that the police have done to their already bad reputation can not be repaired.

Finch

Tyler, you are delusional. That is so untrue. Are you seeing the blasts every night and the mayhem that is occurring? This is 60 days out of control. In all of the videos I've seen there is no peace and certainly no singing. Those people must be somewhere else. There is destruction, disrespect and collateral damage. Look at the guy who heard 82 blasts in one night. He stood out there with the American flag and was followed home and harrassed. So the cops that had the lasers pointed in their eyes and may have permanent damage must have done it to themselves. And the 59 cops in Seattle last weekend did it to themselves. The damage in no way is a one weekend cleanup and those anarchists certainly won't be paying for it.

Tyler C

Finch - the blasts that you are so concerned about are coming from the police. The tear gas is coming from the police. The pepper spray is coming from the police. The videos online are very dramatic but the vast majority of them show police attacking protesters regardless of wether they have broken any laws. I’d recommend visiting the court house during the day I think you’ll be surprised at how little damage there is down there. The worst part is that the place is saturated with tear gas powder (also from the police)

Bill B

Leave it alone Finch. people like Tyler C are a big part of the problem.

Finch

I started to respond but knew it wasn't worth it. Thank you -- agree.

Tyler C

Bill B is right Finch, if you listen to me, you might start believing that the US Constitution applies to all Americans and not just to the people you personally agree with.