President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of 175 additional federal law enforcement officers into cities that have featured clashes between protesters and police.
Trump confirmed the dispatch of federal police Monday as he defended the decision to deploy federal law enforcement inside Portland despite howls from local officials – while vowing to rein in other cities he cast as ‘out of control.’
Trump was asked Monday about reports of sending in the additional 175 troops – and quibbling with the verbiage but not the number itself.
‘Well, it depends on what your definition of “troops” is,” Trump said. “I mean, we’re sending law enforcement.’
The Chicago Tribune reported that 150 of the agents are heading to Chicago, under a plan being drawn up by officials at the Homeland Security Department. They are reportedly Homeland Security Investigations agents.
Local officials have complained that federal agents on the scene in tense situations are not as well trained in deescalating situations and dealing with protesters as are local police who interact with the community daily.
According to an HSI website, its agents tackle a variety of crime, including ‘narcotics and weapons smuggling/trafficking’ as well as ‘transnational gang activity.’
Media in Oakland, Calif. reported that federal troops could be on the way there, after Trump also mentioned the city as among a hanfdful he considers out of control.
‘The answer is no, and we would reject it,’ California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsome said in response.
The president characterized those in the streets in Portland as ‘anarchists’ and said they were ‘not protesters’ – a day after federal officers teargassed a group of mothers who were protesting as part of a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
‘Portland was totally out of control. The Democrats – all liberal Democrats running the place – had no idea what they were doing,’ said Trump at the White House, defending the use of federal force and laying out a plan for further deployments.
‘I’m going to do something – that I can tell you,’ President Donald Trump said Monday, defending the use of federal officers inside Portland and vowing to take action in New York and Chicago
He praised how law enforcement handled the situation, and pledged further action.
‘I’m going to do something – that I can tell you,’ Trumps said, before naming several cities under Democratic control that also have large black populations.
‘Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore and all of these –Oakland is a mess,’ Trump said. ‘We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All liberal Democrats,’ Trump vented.
Trump’s comments toggled between street protests, street crime in cities like New York and Chicago, and left-wing rule and what he called ‘corruption.’ He concluded his remarks with a slam on Democratic rival Joe Biden – a subject of a new Trump campaign attack ad that portrays him as incapable of stopping street anarchy.
‘The level of corruption. What was going on there was incredible,’ Trump said. And then the governor comes up, we don’t’ need any help,’ Trump said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has opposed the use of federal law enforcement units, saying it has heightened tension and increased the burden on local law enforcement. She compared it to ‘adding gasoline to a fire.’
‘They grab them. A lot of people in jail. They’re leaders,’ Trump said of the agents, including DEA swat teams. ‘These are anarchists. These are not protesters. People say protesters. These are anarchists. These are people that hate our country. And we’re not going to let it go forward.’
‘We’re looking at Chicago, too. We’re looking at New York. Look at what’s going on,’ said Trump. ‘All run by Democrats. All run by very liberal Democrats. All run really by radical left.’
Referencing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Trump said: ‘So the governor has to do something about it. But if the governor’s not going to do something about it, we’ll do something about it.
Trump complained that the NYPD – there are more than 30,000 officers – are ‘restricted from doing anything.’
Trump also attacked state and local officials who say the don’t want the federal action. ‘The governor and the mayor and the senators out there. They’re afraid of these people. That’s the reason they don’t want us to help them,’ Trump said. He repeated the point, saying they were ‘maybe even physically afraid of these people.’
Trump bristled earlier in the protests when it was revealed that Secret Service took the president to a bunker underneath the White House on a night when there were attacks on businesses near the White House and a fire in the rectory of St. John’s Church nearby.
He called the violence in Chicago – which experienced 63 weekend shootings – ‘worse than Afghanistan by far.’
‘If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell,’ Trump concluded.
Chicago cops unleashed tear gas and charged at protesters Friday night after they attempted to tear down a statue of Christopher Columbus and threw fireworks at officers.
At least four protesters were injured after chaos erupted in Grant Park as hundreds of demonstrators gathered around the Columbus statue and vandalized it with graffiti.
The protesters aimed fireworks at police guarding the statue to push them back before they tied the monument up with ropes and tried to drag it down.
CBS reported that at least a dozen people were arrested. One also sustained injuries.
Federal agents teargassed a group of mothers who formed a ‘wall of moms’ to protect protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration over the weekend as the mayor of Oregon’s largest city ordered the officers to leave.
Protesters there have complained about fellow protesters being arrested and taken away in unmarked cars. Police called it a riot after protesters set fire to the Portland Police Association building and launched fireworks at other buildings.
Portland has seen nearly two months of nightly protests since George Floyd died under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25.
While the majority of protests have remained peaceful, fires have been set in dumpsters near the city’s courthouse and the walls of the building have been defaced.
President Donald Trump previously vowed to protect federal property from destruction, prompting his administration to send in federal agents to quell demonstrations.
But on Saturday, horrifying photos show those same agents teargassing a crowd, which included a group of mothers who were protesting peacefully in Portland.
Federal agents teargassed a group of mothers (pictured after being teargassed Saturday night) who formed a ‘wall of moms’ to protect protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Saturday
The agents used tear gas and flash bangs to disperse the mothers participating in the ‘Wall of Moms’ protest Saturday night
The women had formed a human shield between protesters and law enforcement officials outside a federal courthouse, donning bike helmets and linking arms
They carried signs that read ‘Angry mama bear BLM’ and ‘Leave our kids alone’ while chanting: ‘Moms are here, feds stay clear’
The agents used tear gas and flash bangs to disperse the mothers participating in the ‘Wall of Moms’ protest.
The women had formed a human shield between protesters and law enforcement officials outside a federal courthouse, donning bike helmets and linking arms.
They carried signs that read ‘Angry mama bear BLM’ and chanted ‘Moms are here, feds stay clear.’
According to Melanie Damm, unidentified federal officers in military-style gear fired tear gas canisters into the group of mothers, clad mostly in white.
‘The level of violence escalated by these GI soldiers was such an overreaction. You’re seeing moms getting tear-gassed,’ said Damm, herself a 39-year-old mom.
‘We aren’t young and Antifa-looking,’ she said, referring to more militant anti-fascism protesters.
And despite being teargassed, the mothers showed up to Sunday night’s protest.
According to Melanie Damm, unidentified federal officers in military-style gear fired tear gas canisters into the group of mothers (pictured toward the start of the protest on Saturday)
They carried signs that read ‘Angry mama bear BLM’ and chanted ‘Moms are here, feds stay clear’
Despite being teargassed on Saturday, the group of mothers (pictured) showed up to Sunday night’s protest dressed in yellow
They continued to hold their signs, lock arms and chant for justice and for the federal agents to leave their city
The moms were back in action on Sunday night. Some were seen holding signs that read, ‘mom 4 justice’ and ‘George Floyd summoned ALL MAMAS’
On Sunday night, a group of about 50 mothers once again formed a ‘wall of moms’ to protect protesters.
Photos show the women mostly wearing yellow and locking arms while holding signs that read, ‘George Floyd summoned ALL MAMAS’ and ‘ silence is violence’.
At one point during Sunday night’s protest, the mothers started line-dancing together to a drum beat.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said federal officers ‘are not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave.’
Trump has decried the demonstrations in Portland, and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blasted the protesters as ‘lawless anarchists’ in a visit to the city on Thursday.
‘We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it,’ Trump tweeted Sunday.
‘Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!’
The group of mothers are seen holding signs during Sunday night’s protest that saw about 1,500 people attend
At one point during Sunday night’s protest, the mothers started line-dancing together to a drum beat
One mother is seen wearing a shirt that says ‘good trouble’, a salute to civil rights icon John Lewis who passed away on Friday after losing his battle with cancer at the age of 80
In a statement, authorities explained that tear gas had been used on protesters after some demonstrators broke into a building Saturday night, set it on fire and started dumpster fires.
The fire at the Portland Police Association building was put out a short time later, Portland police said on Twitter.
The department declared the gathering a riot, and began working to clear the downtown area.
‘As the crowd was dispersed, several people in the crowd were arrested and officers were able to extinguish the fire. Portland Police did not use any CS gas,’ the bureau said in a statement early Sunday.
A group of protesters are seen wearing masks during a demonstration on Sunday
Federal officers emerge from the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse barricaded entrances as protesters demand for the agents to ‘get out’
A firing line of federal officers engaged protesters from outside the federal courthouse on Sunday
A woman is seen holding a Black Lives Matter sign during a massive protest outside the federal courthouse on Sunday
Tear gas was deployed, according to pictures and video from the scene, but it was not necessarily CS gas.
Fencing that had been placed around the federal courthouse had also been removed by protesters and made into barricades, police tweeted.
Police said protesters had gathered Saturday evening at the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, vandalizing patrol vehicles and taunting officers as they reported for work.
Later, as police dispersed a group that had gathered near North Interstate Avenue, people threw rocks and paint-filled balloons at officers. Some were injured, the statement said.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler (pictured) said federal officers ‘are not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave’
Ongoing protests against police brutality on Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (Michael Arellano for DailyMail.com)
Protesters topple the perimeter barricades outside the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse on Sunday
Protesters chant, ‘hands up! don’t shoot!’ during a demonstration in Portland Sunday night
Demonstrators are engulfed in tear gas and smoke as federal officers disperse the crowd outside the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse Sunday night
Federal officers face off with protesters one block west of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse on Sunday
Before the aggressive language and action from federal officials, the unrest had frustrated Wheeler and other local authorities, who had said a small cadre of violent activists were drowning out the message of peaceful protesters in the city.
But Wheeler said the federal presence in the city is now exacerbating a tense situation.
‘What we’re seeing is a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government, Wheeler said Sunday.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court late Friday.
The complaint said unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland’s streets ‘without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action’.
The clampdown in the liberal city has drawn widespread criticism and legal challenges as videos surfaced of officers without clear identification badges using force and unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters without explanation (incident pictured)
Throughout the recorded exchange, the federal agents never reveal what sparked the arrest or why the unidentified man was being taken into custody
The two federal agents take the protester to an unmarked, grey minivan and drive away (pictured)
ACLU files lawsuit against the DHS after federal agents were deployed to Portland to quell demonstrations
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday after federal agents were deployed to Portland, Oregon.
The ACLU said it filed lawsuit over the ‘flat-out unconstitutional’ arrests.
‘Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping — what is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the US.
‘These actions are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered,’ the organization wrote.
Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, added: ‘This is a fight to save our democracy.’
Simon added: ‘These federal agents must be stopped and removed from our city. We will continue to bring the full fire power of the ACLU to bear until this lawless policing ends.’
ACLU also filed a lawsuit against the US Marshals Service and the Portland Police, who they’ve accused of unfairly targeting journalists and legal observers amid ongoing protests.
If won, federal agents would be held to far more restrictions than they are now.
Authorities would be barred from arresting, threatening to arrest or using physical force against journalists or legal observers unless it’s ‘reasonably known’ the individual committed a crime.
Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to ‘immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians’.
However, federal officers and Portland police advanced simultaneously on demonstrators to clear the streets early Saturday, making arrests as protesters threw bottles and pieces of metal fencing.
The action by Portland’s police was condemned by Jo Ann Hardesty, a prominent member of the City Council.
Hardesty said Saturday that local police ‘joined in the aggressive clampdown of peaceful protest’.
She also slammed Wheeler, telling the mayor he needed to better control local law enforcement.
Hardesty, who oversees the city’s fire department and other first-responder agencies, said in an open letter to Wheeler if ‘you can’t control the police, give me the Portland Police Bureau’.
Despite the lawsuits and the tactics being used by federal agents, US Homeland Security officials said on Monday that they have no intention of pulling back in Portland.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), law enforcement units were sent to Portland to help guard US government facilities after receiving intelligence about planned attacks around July 4.
‘DHS is not going to back down from our responsibilities. We are not escalating, we are protecting,’ Wolf told Fox News.
About 1,500 demonstrators gathered Sunday night outside the federal courthouse.
After protesters began knocking down sections of a large steel fence put up around the courthouse building, federal officers lobbed flash bangs from the front of the courthouse building.
Tear gas canisters followed, filling the square outside the courthouse and forcing much of the crowd away. The tear gas continued intermittently past midnight.
Early Monday, Portland police said federal agents used tear gas to disperse the crowd and moved to extinguish a fire that was lit within a portico of the courthouse.
Wolf said federal law enforcement was doing its job. ‘We’re not going to apologize for it,’ he said. ‘We’re going to do it professionally and do it correctly.’
The clampdown in the liberal city has drawn widespread criticism and legal challenges as videos surfaced of officers without clear identification badges using force and unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters without explanation.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deputy secretary, said on Monday the federal officers wore the same uniforms every day and the crowds knew who they were. He also defended the use of unmarked cars as routine.
‘Unmarked police vehicles are so common it’s barely worth discussion,’ he told CNN.
Cuccinelli said if federal authorities receive the same kind of intelligence threat in other places, they would respond the same way. ‘It’s really as simple as that,’ he said.
Cuccinelli also dismissed local leaders’ calls to leave the city. ‘We will maintain our presence,’ he said.