Jul 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Portland mayor accuses federal agents of violating civil rights

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he "absolutely" believes the Trump administration is violating the Constitution by deploying unidentified federal agents to arrest protesters in the city.

The state of play: President Trump and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf have defended the use of federal law enforcement by claiming that violent anarchists have overrun the city, which has seen more than 50 nights of protests over the killing of George Floyd.

  • The U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon has called for an investigation into reports that officers have arbitrarily detained protesters in unmarked vans.
  • Trump tweeted on Sunday: "We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. 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!"

What they're saying: "The president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect," Wheeler told Jake Tapper. "What's happening here is we have dozens if not hundreds of federal troops descending upon our city and what they're doing is they are sharply escalating the situation."

  • "Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism, and it's not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted here. We haven't asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave," he continued.
  • "The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent. ... People are being literally scooped off the streets into unmarked vans — rental cars, apparently. They are being denied probable cause, and they are denied due process. They don't even know who's pulling them into the vans."

Go deeper: U.S. attorney calls for investigation into federal officers arresting Portland protestors

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