US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is deploying troves of federal officers to cities he says are home to rampant violence, fulfilling his pledge to copy the ongoing controversial crackdown in Portland, Oregon.
“This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end,” Trump said at the White House. “We’ve just started this process, and frankly we have no choice but to get involved.”
Trump is already facing sweeping pushback after he deployed militarized federal officers to Portland, overriding demands he not do so from local and state leaders. He pledged to replicate that efforts on Monday.
The northwestern city has seen sustained daily Black Lives Matter protests following the fatal arrest of George Floyd in May.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler demanded Friday the federal “troops” remain inside their buildings, telling Trump the alternative is having “them leave our city.”
He later said the buildup of federal personnel has escalated tensions in the Pacific northwestern city, rather than tamp them down as Trump insists he wants to see.
“Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism,” Wheeler said during a CNN interview Sunday. “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.”
“People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars, apparently. They are being denied probable cause and they’re denied due process,” he said.
He was referring to scenes that have been captured on camera from Portland appearing to show unmarked officers seizing demonstrators from city streets seemingly at random before throwing them into vans and speeding away.
The officers have also repeatedly used tear gas on protesters, and early Monday morning used the substance after protesters set a fire in the portico of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, a flashpoint of the demonstrations.
The Trump administration is facing a wave of lawsuits from the Oregon attorney general, lawmakers and private groups seeking the removal of the officers.
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