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19 Jul, 2020 21:12

House Democrats demand to probe fed officers in Portland, as city mayor blames them for violence

House Democrats demand to probe fed officers in Portland, as city mayor blames them for violence

Democrat lawmakers have asked the government to investigate the deployment of federal officers to Portland, where riots have raged for 50 days. Portland’s mayor went further, blaming the officers for the violence.

In a joint letter to the inspectors general for the Justice and Homeland Security departments, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler and two colleagues called for an investigation on Sunday into the Donald Trump administration’s use of a “secret police force” to “suppress First Amendment protected activities” in Portland and elsewhere. 

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By “secret police force,” Nadler referred to the federal agents sent into the riot-stricken city of Portland to restore order, following nearly two months of nightly vandalism, arson, and rioting. Protesters, however, say the agents are using “gestapo” tactics and “kidnapping” demonstrators off the streets.

Nadler and his colleagues aren’t the only lawmakers condemning the federal deployment. Four Democratic lawmakers from Oregon – Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as House members Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici – called for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security (DHS) to probe the “violent actions of federal forces in Portland” on Friday. 

Also on rt.com Trump says he wants to ‘help’ Portland, accuses local officials of allowing ‘anarchists & agitators’ to take control of the city

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler – whose hands-off approach to the violent protests has been condemned by conservatives – has vociferously opposed the deployment. Despite the city’s Justice Center being besieged by rioters for 51 nights straight, Wheeler told CNN on Sunday that “before the federal troops got here, violence was way down, vandalism was way down.”

Wheeler’s approach, he said, was to wait until the “energy” had left the protesters, and that the riots would “end within a matter of days.”

Whether the riots would have actually ended is a matter of speculation. The federal officers appeared in the city two weeks ago, days after protesters broke the glass doors of the Justice Center and set a fire inside the courthouse. In the days leading up to the deployment, three riots were declared in the city in a week, and the violence showed no signs of abating.

The situation as of Sunday remains unchanged, with further protests expected overnight.

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