Portland mayor demands Trump remove federal agents from city

The Guardian – By The Associated Press in Oregon – Saturday July 18, 2020

The mayor of Portland has demanded that Donald Trump remove militarized federal agents deployed to the city after some detained people far from the federal property they were sent to protect.

“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Ted Wheeler, the mayor, told the president, at a news conference on Friday.

The Democratic governor, Kate Brown, said Trump was looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere, and for a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing rising numbers of infections in Oregon and across the nation.

Brown’s spokesman, Charles Boyle, said arresting people without probable cause was “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights”.

The Oregon attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, said she would file a lawsuit in federal court against the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and Federal Protection Service, alleging they have violated the civil rights of Oregonians by detaining them without probable cause. She will also seek a temporary restraining order against them.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon said the federal agents appear to be violating people’s rights, which “should concern everyone in the United States”.

“Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping,“ said Jann Carson, ACLU interim executive director. “The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”

Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Thursday. Some have been detained by the federal courthouse, the scene of protests. Others were grabbed blocks away.

“This is part of the core media strategy out of Trump’s White House: to use federal troops to bolster his sagging polling data,” Wheeler said. “And it is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials.”

One video showed two people in helmets and green camouflage with “police” patches grabbing a person on the sidewalk, handcuffing them and taking them into an unmarked vehicle.

“Who are you?” someone asks the pair, who do not respond. At least some of the federal officers belong to the DHS.

Customs and Border Protection said in a statement its agents had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaulting federal agents or destroying federal property.

“Once CBP agents approached the suspect, a large and violent mob moved towards their location. For everyone’s safety, CBP agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location,” the agency said.

However, the video shows no mob.

In another case, Mark Pettibone, 29, said a minivan rolled up to him around 2am on Wednesday and four or five people got out “looking like they were deployed to a Middle Eastern war”.

Pettibone told the Associated Press he got to his knees as the group approached. They dragged him into the van without identifying themselves or responding to his questions and pulled his beanie over his eyes so he couldn’t see, he said.

“I figured I was just going to disappear for an indefinite amount of time,” Pettibone said, adding that he was put into a cell and officers dumped the contents of his backpack, with one remarking: “Oh, this is a bunch of nothing.”

After he asked for a lawyer, Pettibone was allowed to leave.

Read entire article here

Video source: www.youtube.com

Posted by Teri Perticone

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