The federal crackdown in Portland continued on Friday as authorities announced 18 people face charges over the violent clashes this week and a US judge denied an order sought by Oregon’s top law enforcement officer to stop Trump’s men arresting demonstrators in the city.
Protests entered their 58th night Friday, one day after peaceful rallies descended once more into a bloody showdown between a group of around 2,000 demonstrators and law enforcement outside the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
Portland has become the scene of a controversial crackdown by federal agents, sent in by Donald Trump to stop protests that have been ongoing since the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of George Floyd.
The invasion of the feds has only reignited demonstrations, as a self-proclaimed Wall of Moms group has gathered over the last week sporting yellow t-shirts and bicycle helmets and vowing to protect the Black Lives Matter protesters from attack by law enforcement.
Trump continued on his law and order rampage Friday as he warned he was ‘sending people to New York’ after troops have already been drafted in to Portland, Chicago, Seattle and Albuquerque.
This comes hours after he threatened Thursday 60,000 troops are ‘ready’ to head to cities across the country.
The federal crackdown in Portland continued on Friday as authorities announced 18 people face charges over the violent clashes this week. Pictured images released by the DOJ showing the aftermath of chaos outside Hatfield Federal Courthouse
The courthouse is covered in graffiti following nights of unrest. This comes as a US judge denied an order sought by Oregon’s top law enforcement officer to stop Trump’s men arresting demonstrators in the city
18 people have been arrested and charged over the escalating standoffs that have rocked the city this week, prosecutors announced Friday
US prosecutors on Friday said 18 people have been arrested and charged over the escalating standoffs that have rocked the city this week.
Five have been charged for alleged criminal conduct during a protest Monday night, ranging from assaulting a federal officer to trespassing on federal property and failing to comply with a lawful order.
Seven were charged over Tuesday night’s protest including damaging government property, arson and assaulting federal officers while another six were charged over Wednesday night’s protest – all for failing to comply with a lawful order.
They made their first court appearances Friday, as a separate US judge denied efforts by Oregon to limit the power of federal agents in its largest city.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued the Trump administration last week over his law and order push in Portland, alleging federal agents have arrested protesters without probable cause, whisked them away in unmarked cars and used excessive force.
She sought a temporary restraining order to immediately stop federal authorities from arresting people during the nightly protests.
It aimed to prevent injuries by federal agents in upcoming protests.
But US District Court Judge Michael Mosman denied the order Friday saying the state lacked standing to sue on behalf of protesters.
Federal agents fired tear gas and rubber pellets into the crowds of protesters outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon overnight Thursday in the 56th night of unrest
Bloodied protesters, many who were helmeted and wearing face masks, were seen being treated by street medics during the clash Thursday night
In violent scenes from the city, agents could be seen firing off crowd control munitions, or rubber pellets, to disperse the protesters
The bloody standoff between protesters and authorities, which lasted into the early hours of Friday, marked the 56th straight day of unrest in Oregon’s largest city as residents demonstrate against racism and police brutality
David Morrell, an attorney for the US government, called the motion ‘extraordinary’ and told the judge in a hearing this week that it was based solely on ‘a few threadbare declarations’ from witnesses and a Twitter video.
He also blasted the protests ‘dangerous and volatile’.
The decision comes as Portland residents take to the streets for another night of demonstrations against racism and police brutality.
This comes after federal agents clashed with about 2,000 protesters overnight Thursday, just hours after the Justice Department said it was investigating the use of force during demonstrations.
The clashes erupted around midnight when authorities say some demonstrators tried to kick down the protective steel fence, which is reinforced by a barricade, that separated the protesters from law enforcement.
Protesters targeted the federal courthouse by launching fireworks and hurling trash they had set on fire over the fence.
Federal agents wearing fatigues lobbed tear gas canisters back at demonstrators, used flash bangs and fired pepper balls after declaring the gathering unlawful.
Bloodied protesters, many who were helmeted and wearing face masks, were seen being treated by street medics during the clash.
The clash came soon after the the Justice Department’s watchdog said it was investigating the use of force by federal agents in Portland during protests.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office opened the probe after civil unrest escalated in the past week following claims of camouflaged federal agents using force and snatching people from the streets and putting them into unmarked cars.
A protester attempts to throw a burning box over a fence outside the courthouse separating them from federal agents
Federal law enforcement agents fire rubber pellets at protesters through a fence set up outside the federal courthouse
Federal agents are seen above arresting one protester during the violent class in downtown Portland late Thursday night
The Department of Homeland Security, whose law enforcement agents are facing fierce criticism for their actions in Portland, said its internal watchdog was also conducting a probe.
Demonstrators and local officials see the deployment of the agents in Portland as a ploy by Trump to drum up a ‘law and order’ campaign as he faces an uphill re-election battle.
Officials are pushing back against the federal agents, with a judge granting a temporary restraining order on Thursday that bans them from arresting legal observers and journalists at protests.
While officials and residents want the feds out of Portland concerns are building in other cities where Trump has started sending in the troops.
More federal agents were dispatched to Seattle Friday as Mayor Jenny Durkan blasted Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf saying he misled her about plans.
More federal agents were dispatched to Seattle Friday as Mayor Jenny Durkan (pictured) blasted Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf saying he misled her about plans to send them to the city
Workers clean up the streets of Seattle Thursday after unrest the previous night
Durkan said Wolf had assured her the government had no plans to send federal agents to Seattle.
‘I don’t want to say I was lied to, but I think there was maybe semantics that weren´t forthcoming,’ Durkan said Friday.
She said she hoped to prevent Seattle heading the same way as Portland.
‘I cannot overstate it enough, what is happening is frightening to me,’ Durkan said. ‘It is frightening that you would use federal agents for political purposes.’
The agents sent to Seattle are on standby to help other federal law enforcement officials protect federal facilities in the city, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the plans.
They were drafted in after businesses were vandalized in the downtown area and in the nearby Capitol Hill neighborhood.
New York could be next on the list after Trump said Friday he is ‘sending people in to New York’ in the same way he has sent federal forces to Chicago and Portland.
‘You look at what they’re doing to cities – every city is run by a liberal Democrat, and they’re going to hell,’ Trump told Barstool Sports.
‘We just sent people in to Chicago. We’ve sent people in to Portland.
‘We’re sending people to New York, to help out.’
Trump’s comments came 24 hours after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he had received reassurances from the president that federal agents were not being sent.
Donald Trump spoke to Barstool Sports on Friday night at the White House saying he is ‘sending people in to New York’ in the same way he has sent federal forces to Chicago and Portland
‘He has suggested he would send troops to New York City – troops, federal agents, whatever,’ Cuomo said Thursday.
‘I don’t believe there is any justification in doing that. There are not any federal buildings that need protecting.’
The governor – who has repeatedly clashed with the president amid the coronavirus pandemic – added that sending in federal troops would be ‘inflammatory’.
Chicago is also gearing up for a surge of federal agents after Trump threatened to send in the troops to help tackle an uptick in gun violence.
Local officials, however, have warned they would draw the line at any Portland-style deployment.
‘We’re not going to allow the unconstitutional, state-sanctioned lawlessness we saw brought to Portland here in Chicago,’ Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter.
Protesters gathered outside the Chicago mayor’s house Thursday night as after she ordered the removal of the city’s Christopher Columbus statues – a move critics blasted as bowing to ‘violent nihilists’ and Italian-Americans branded a ‘betrayal’.
In Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the removal of its Christopher Columbus statues. In the early hours of Friday, crews used a large crane to remove the monument in Grant Park from its pedestal overnight
The Columbus statue in Chicago’s Little Italy, already defaced with graffiti, was also removed by the city early on Friday
Thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets to march on Lightfoot’s house as night fell, demanding she defund the Chicago Police Department and turf federal agents out of the city.
Chants turned from ‘f*** CPD’ to cheers of elation when someone announced over the microphone that the city would take the controversial Columbus monuments down from Grant Park and Little Italy.
A crane hoisted the Grant Park statue off its pedestal under cover of darkness early today, watched by a small crowd who cheered as it was driven away on the back of a truck, while the Little Italy statue also came down.
News of the statues’ removal sparked yet more divides across the city, with protesters happy with the decision heading to Grant Park in the hope of watching the historic moment take place.
They were met by counter-protesters, including Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, who were outraged at the decision.
Meanwhile, Trump on Thursday threatened to send in 60,000 additional federal agents into other American cities facing unrest.
‘We’ll go into all of the cities, any of the cities. We’re ready. We’ll put in 50,000, 60,000 people that really know what they’re doing,’ Trump said in an interview with Sean Hannity.
‘And they’re strong. They’re tough and we can solve those problems so fast.’
Demonstrators tried to kick down a steel fence set up to keep them at a distance from agents in Portland in the early hours of Friday
Women, now known as the wall of moms, link arms to act as a shield for Black Lives Matter protesters outside the courthouse Thursday night