U.S. at­tor­ney: Feds will stay in Port­land un­til at­tacks end

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD - BY AN­DREW SELSKY AND ARON RANEN

PORT­LAND, Ore. — Fed­eral mil­i­ta­rized of­fi­cers will re­main in Port­land un­til at­tacks on the U.S. court­house cease, a top of­fi­cial said Mon­day af­ter a night of vi­o­lence. And more of­fi­cers may soon be on the way.

“It is not a so­lu­tion to tell fed­eral of­fi­cers to leave when there con­tin­ues to be at­tacks on fed­eral prop­erty and per­son­nel. We are not leav­ing the building un­pro­tected to be de­stroyed by peo­ple in­tent on do­ing so,” U.S. At­tor­ney Billy Wil­liams told a tele­phonic news con­fer­ence.

Lo­cal and state of­fi­cials said the fed­eral of­fi­cers are un­wel­come. The mayor of Port­land and five other cities ap­pealed Mon­day to Congress to make it il­le­gal for the fed­eral govern­ment to de­ploy mil­i­ta­rized fed­eral agents to cities that don’t want them.

“This ad­min­is­tra­tion’s egregious use of fed­eral force on cities over the ob­jec­tions of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties should never hap­pen,” the may­ors of Port­land, Chicago, Seat­tle, Kansas City, Al­bu­querque and Wash­ing­ton, wrote to lead­ers of the U.S.

House and Se­nate.

The may­ors want Congress to re­quire con­sul­ta­tion with and con­sent from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties be­fore fed­eral de­ploy­ments; re­quire vis­i­ble iden­ti­fi­ca­tion at all times on fed­eral agents and ve­hi­cles un­less on an un­der­cover mis­sion au­tho­rized by the lo­cal U.S. at­tor­ney; and limit fed­eral agents’ ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­tect­ing fed­eral prop­erty.

The city has had nightly protests for two months since the death of Ge­orge Floyd in Min­neapo­lis in May. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he sent fed­eral agents to Port­land to halt the un­rest, but state and lo­cal of­fi­cials said they are mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion worse.

Trump’s de­ploy­ment of the fed­eral of­fi­cers over the July 4 week­end fanned the flames of the Black Lives Mat­ter protest move­ment here. The num­ber of pro­test­ers had dwin­dled to per­haps less than 100 right be­fore the de­ploy­ment and now has swelled to the thou­sands.

Early Mon­day, U.S. agents re­peat­edly fired tear gas, flash bangs and pep­per balls at pro­test­ers out­side the fed­eral court­house in down­town Port­land.

Trump said Mon­day on Twit­ter that the fed­eral prop­er­ties in Port­land “wouldn’t last a day” with­out the pres­ence of the fed­eral agents.

SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

Fed­eral po­lice make an ar­rest in front of the Mark O. Hat­field fed­eral court­house in down­town Port­land, Ore­gon, Sun­day.

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