Protesters in Oregon blocked two ICE buses that were holding illegal immigrants, and at one point tried to break in to free the migrants, forcing federal agents to mount a rescue mission Wednesday night.
Hundreds of protesters forced a nearly 12-hour standoff, demanding the deportation officers produce a warrant to justify the arrests. Some activists attempted to deflate the bus tires or empty oil from the engine, according to Homeland Security documents detailing the confrontation.
Customs and Border Protection agents, who were stationed several hours away in Portland to deal with ongoing riots there, were quickly deployed to Bend, the site of the anti-ICE action.
CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents used tear gas to clear away demonstrators, then helped four ICE personnel and the two migrants evacuate. Even as they were doing so, demonstrators pulled on the chains connected to the handcuffs the migrants were wearing, leaving them with scrapes on their hands.
None of the ICE personnel were injured.
ICE said the two migrants they picked up both had histories of “criminal violent behavior” which made them valid targets for arrest out in the community.
Local officials insisted they weren’t helping the feds, and Bend police stood by, only monitoring the confrontation.
“To be clear, in no way do I support ICE,” said Bend Mayor Sally Russell — though she did acknowledge both men arrested had warrants justifying the arrests, and she discounted rumors of an immigration “sweep.”
Some local officials joined the protesters. One of those, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, took to Twitter to complain about what he saw.
“Federal troops stormed the buses in full tactical gear,” he wrote. “I’ve never been so disgusted by my government and so proud of my community.”
He did not comment on the protesters’ apparent attempts to break into the bus.
“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” ICE said in a statement.
The agency added: “While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”
The protests eventually broke up after CBP and ICE evacuated the personnel, and they were able to go back and retrieve the buses later.
The confrontation comes even as riots still rage nightly in Portland, where demonstrators first targeted federal officers and have now turned their ire on local police.
Wednesday night saw renewed violence in downtown Portland, with rioters igniting fires, pelting officers with eggs, bottles, fist-sized rocks and cans of paint, and launching commercial-grade fireworks at the fence protecting the federal courthouse from the protests.
Oregon State Police and Portland Police declared a riot and had to use tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Police are now protecting the federal courthouse in Portland under a deal struck by acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who agreed to deploy state police if the federal officers and agents would lower their presence.
In Bend, none of the local or state authorities moved to help the ICE officers.
Bend police said they had been alerted ICE would be conducting some operation but weren’t told the details.
Luke Richter, president of Central Oregon Peacekeepers and the first to step in front of the buses, said they had a right to intervene.
“If they’re going to take people from a sanctuary city, they need to have proper documentation of that. We have not seen any warrants for their arrest,” he told KTVZ.
Mr. Richter live-streamed his confrontation with the buses. During his webcast, he named the hotel where he said the ICE officers stayed and said that hotel “needs to be canceled.”
A legal group filed an emergency request in federal court to demand access to the migrants at the scene, but the court took no action before the end of the standoff.
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Gresham, Oregon, Portland sparks flap after raising Black Lives Matter flag over city hall
The Portland suburb of Gresham, Oregon, has sent ripples through the community by flying a Black Lives Matter flag over city hall. Two groups of protesters squared off Wednesday after mayoral candidate Joe Demers organized a “Keep Gresham Sound—Take the BLM Flag Down” rally to protest the flag, which was raised July 15 on a…
The Portland suburb of Gresham, Oregon, has sent ripples through the community by flying a Black Lives Matter flag over city hall.
Two groups of protesters squared off Wednesday after mayoral candidate Joe Demers organized a “Keep Gresham Sound—Take the BLM Flag Down” rally to protest the flag, which was raised July 15 on a flagpole below the Oregon state flag following a unanimous vote of the city council.
“The decision to put the flag up is something that should have involved the entire community,” Mr. Demers said in a report in TheOutlook.
The rally drew about 100 counter-protesters wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts and carrying signs with messages like, “BLM is only divisive if you disagree that BLM,” with one organizer calling the objections to the flag “a form of racism.”
The flap failed to deter the city council, which voted Tuesday to extend the flying of the flag from the end of July to the end of August.
“The phrase Black Lives Matter does not imply that other lives do not matter,” said the city in a July 15 statement. “Instead, it calls attention to the reality that the simple presumption that every life matters too frequently fails to be applied to Black and brown lives. In raising the flag, the City hopes to provide a space for civil conversations about the issues of race and inequity.”
The Multnomah County Republicans said in a Tuesday statement that the city council was “either clueless or committed to overthrowing the Constitution.”
“We as Republicans, the party of Lincoln, obviously have no objections to promoting messages of racial equality,” said party chairman James Buchal, “but these City Councilors are tarnishing the City of Gresham by flying the flag of a radical Marxist organization hostile to all fundamental American values.”
Located immediately east of Portland, Gresham has a population of about 110,000 and has been ranked as the fourth-largest city in Oregon.
At least one other jurisdiction, Ann Arbor, Michigan, has raised a generic Black Lives Matter flag over city hall, but Mr. Buchal pointed out that the black flag with white lettering and yellow stripes being flown in Gresham bears the logo of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and is available on the group’s website.
The BLM Global Network has been accused of promoting a Marxist agenda: Among its goals are to defund the police and “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement,” while co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in 2015 that she and co-founder Alicia Garza were “trained Marxists.”
The group, founded in 2013 after the death of Trayvon Martin, has also been vocal about the presidential race. Last month, Ms. Cullors told CNN that “our goal is to get Trump out” and that “he should resign now.”
The council’s vote to fly the flag came as city hall grapples with a shake-up tinged with racial tension. The mayor, city manager and police chief announced their retirements last month, while the assistant city manager, who is Black, said in a June 8 letter obtained by TheOutlook that he received a “dismal” reception and attributed it to subtle racism.
Earlier this week, the council appointed community volunteer Vincent Jones-Dixon, who is Black, to fill the vacancy left after a councilor assumed the mayor’s job.
The city council also voted last month to fly the Juneteenth flag throughout the month of June.
“As our community, nation and world grapple with the racial injustices laid bare by the tragic death of George Floyd and so many others, Council felt it important to stand behind the simple notion that Black lives matter,” said the city’s statement.
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Oregon officials blast ‘blatant abuse of power’ of federal troops |NationalTribune.com
Federal agents in green camouflage uniforms have been taking into custody people in the streets of Portland, Oregon who are not close to the federal property that they were sent to protect, in what the ACLU on Friday said “should concern everyone in the United States”. “Usually, when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly…
Federal agents in green camouflage uniforms have been taking into custody people in the streets of Portland, Oregon who are not close to the federal property that they were sent to protect, in what the ACLU on Friday said “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, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.
“The actions of the militarised federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”
Governor Kate Brown said President Donald Trump, who deployed Department of Homeland Security officers to Portland, is looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere.
The Democratic governor on Thursday called the actions “a blatant abuse of power by the federal government”. Her spokesman, Charles Boyle, said Friday that arresting people without probable cause is “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights”.
Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end. pic.twitter.com/PE4YfZ9Vqd
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 16, 2020
Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Thursday. Some have been detained near the federal courthouse, which has been the scene of protests. But others were grabbed blocks away.
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 Department of Homeland Security.
“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters,” Democratic US Senator Jeff Merkley said in a tweet.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Oregon chapter said in a statement: “We are now seeing escalating tactics with protesters being unlawfully detained by unknown Federal law enforcement entities.”
US Attorney Billy Williams in Portland said Friday that, based on news accounts that allege federal law enforcement detained two protesters without probable cause, he has requested the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to investigate the actions of DHS personnel.
Oregon’s two senators and two of its House members announced they will also be asking the DHS inspector general, as well as the US Department of Justice, to investigate “the unrequested presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland”.
“It’s painfully clear this administration is focused purely on escalating violence without answering my repeated requests for why this expeditionary force is in Portland and under what constitutional authority,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said.
On Thursday night, federal officers deployed tear gas and fired non-lethal rounds into a crowd of protesters, hours after the head of the Department of Homeland Security visited the city and called the demonstrators, who are protesting against racism and police brutality, “violent anarchists.”
A few hundred people gathered near the federal courthouse Thursday night. Other protesters went to a police station in another part of the city. Police told protesters to leave that site after announcing they heard some chanting about burning down the building. Protester Paul Frazier said Friday the chant was “much more rhetorical than an actual statement”.
Young people taking part in a protest against police brutality and racism in Portland, Oregon [AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer]
Portland police said Friday they wound up arresting 20 people overnight.
Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said Thursday that state and city authorities are to blame for not putting an end to the protests, angering local officials.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and others have said they did not ask for help from federal law enforcement and have asked them to leave.
Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said Friday morning on US TV show, Fox & Friends, that the federal government has a responsibility to protect buildings such as the courthouse.
“What we’ve seen around the country is where responsible policing is advanced, violence recedes,” Cuccinelli said. “And Portland hasn’t gotten that memo. Nor have a lot of other cities. And the president is determined to do what we can, within our jurisdiction, to help restore peace to these beleaguered cities.”
The Department of Homeland Security had no immediate comment when reached by The Associated Press on Friday.
Tensions have escalated in the past two weeks, particularly after an officer with the US Marshals Service fired at a protester’s head on July 11, critically injuring him.
The protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have often devolved into violent clashes between smaller groups and the police. The unrest has caused deep divisions in a city that prides itself on its activism and progressive reputation.
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