The acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief traveled to Portland late Thursday as violent demonstrations unfolded in the OR city for the 50th consecutive night. "Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the courageous law enforcement officers protecting it".
The Times editorial board warned this month that the nation is facing a potentially unsafe period in the Trump administration, as the flailing president sees his political support flagging.
Add to that strong-arm tactics and deploying federal agents to patrol city streets - not their job and against the wishes of local officials - and apparently willy-nilly violating the constitutional rights of people they encounter.
Videos circulating on social media show heavily armed federal officers with no agency markings snatching people off Portland's streets and forcing them into unmarked cars.
Demonstrators began erecting tents in downtown Portland's Lownsdale Square, across the street from the federal Pioneer Courthouse, one of the federal properties Homeland Security is protecting after bringing federal officers into the city two weeks ago.
At least 13 individuals have been charged with crimes related to the demonstrations. "He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm's way", she said in a statement.
"A number of people have asked if I know DHS leadership is in town, and if I'm going to meet with them".
But Oregon Gov. Kate Brown joined other state and local officials in denouncing the federal actions, arguing that the federal agents had made the situation worse and have acted as provocateurs.
"All United States Marshals Service arrestees have public records of arrest documenting their charges". If Portland will not lead in de-escalating the situation then the federal troops will take lead, and we have already seen how unsafe that will be for Portlanders exercising their first amendment rights.
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Portland Police say federal agents use munitions, CS gas and a long range acoustic device during more than five hours of demonstrations.
In a livestream operated by the Portland police, protesters could be heard chanting that they will "burn it down" if they do not receive "justice".
"This is terrifying and outrageous", tweeted Vanita Gupta, president an CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
In a statement late Sunday, Wheeler that he spoke with with U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams and learned of the investigation.
In addition, it prohibited the arrest or use of force against journalists and observers without reasonable cause. We don't need you. "The best thing they can do is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether", said Wheeler. "[Two demonstrators] said they think they were targeted by federal officers for simply wearing black clothing in the area of the demonstration".
The Nation's Jeet Heer wrote Friday that "on the face of it, what these federal officers are doing is illegal and unconstitutional". "They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country".
"I think Portland is a test case", Zakir Khan, a spokesman for the OR chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Washington Post.