Trump Deploys Secret Police in Portland Pulling Protesters Off The Street and Jailing Them

Common Dreams – By Jake Johnson – July 17, 2020

Video footage and first-hand accounts of unidentified federal law enforcement officials snatching up Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon and throwing them into unmarked vehicles drew nationwide attention and outrage Friday, with members of Congress, human rights groups, and journalists accusing the Trump administration of deploying “secret police” to crush dissent.

“Unmarked federal agents in combat gear are pulling protesters off the street and jailing them without charge,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “That is what a police state is all about. Now is the time to defend our Constitution. Now is the time to come together and defeat Trump’s authoritarian policies.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called the conduct of federal law enforcement “outrageous” and said the Trump administration “should not be using unidentified federal officers as a secret police force to terrorize U.S. citizens and violate their constitutional rights.”

Federal law enforcement officials from the U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have reportedly been patrolling downtown Portland in unmarked vehicles and detaining demonstrators without explanation since at least July 14 as protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd continue on a nightly basis across the city.

The Trump administration sent the federal officers to Portland to confront racial justice demonstrators earlier this month against the wishes of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, both Democrats. In a Fox News interview Thursday night, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf denounced Oregon officials for demanding the withdrawal of federal officials, saying, “That’s just not going to happen on my watch.”

Journalists and demonstrators on the ground in Portland have documented numerous abuses by federal officials, including the indiscriminate firing of rubber bullets and tear gas into crowds of protesters and conducting arrests apparently without any semblance of probable cause. Over the weekend, a federal agent fractured a peaceful demonstrator’s skull with an impact munition.

“This is terrifying and outrageous,” tweeted Vanita Gupta, president an CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Secret police are the purview of authoritarians. Trump is doing this months away from the election because he thinks it helps him. But imagine what happens if he gets four more years.”

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Video source: www.youtube.com

Posted by Teri Perticone

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