Jul 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Federal agents arrested 18 during Portland protests this week

Federal police in Portland on July 23.

Federal police in Portland on July 23. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Federal police arrested 18 people in Portland, Oregon, this week during protests at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, U.S. Attorney Billy Williams announced Friday.

Why it matters: President Trump sent U.S. officers to Portland earlier this month in response to protests that followed the death of George Floyd in May. Officials have denounced the administration's use of federal agents to pull protesters into unmarked vehicles.

Details: These cases are being jointly investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Protective Service, and are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

What they're saying: The protesters who've been arrested face federal charges including assaulting federal officers, arson and damaging federal property, Williams' office said.

  • Earlier this week, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf pushed back against criticism of federal agents' conduct during protests in Portland, saying, "We have been forced because of local law enforcement presence to take measures such as arrests to protect our officials."
  • "We will not retreat. We will continue to take the appropriate action to protect our facilities and our law enforcement officers," Wolf added.

The big picture: Trump this week threatened to send federal law enforcement to other cities with Democratic governors, including New York City and Chicago.

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