Leftist gaslighting over the deployment of federal agents to address months of nightly riots in the city of Portland, Oregon has reached epic proportions. The New York Times published an article on Friday entitled “Federal Agents Unleash Militarized Crackdown on Portland.” It begins:
Federal agents dressed in camouflage and tactical gear have taken to the streets of Portland, unleashing tear gas, bloodying protesters and pulling some people into unmarked vans in what Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon has called ‘a blatant abuse of power.’
The extraordinary use of federal force in recent days, billed as an attempt to tamp down persistent unrest and protect government property, has infuriated local leaders who say the agents have stoked tensions. ‘This is an attack on our democracy,’ Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland said.
Democrats’ claims of “unmarked jackbooted stormtrooper thugs randomly rounding up people” stem from the following incident.
One of the “protestors,” Mark Pettibone, 29, told The Times “four people in camouflage jumped out of an unmarked van around 2 a.m. Wednesday. They had no obvious markings or identification” and he “had no idea who they were.”
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, posted a video showing Pettibone being apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and walked to an unmarked van. The word “POLICE” appears in large yellow letters on the front of the agents’ uniforms. According to Fox News, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this happened because they “had information that the individual was suspected of assaulting agents or destroying property, and as a mob approached.”
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In a statement, DHS said:
Once CBP agents approached the suspect, a large and violent mob moved towards their location. For everyone’s safety, CBP agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location for further questioning. The CBP agents identified themselves and were wearing CBP insignia during the encounter. The names of the agents were not displayed due to recent doxing incidents against law enforcement personnel who serve and protect our country.
Merkley’s office released the following statement:
DHS and DOJ are engaged in acts that are horrific and outrageous in our constitutional democratic republic. First, they are deploying paramilitary forces with no identification indicating who they are or who they work for. Second, these agents are snatching people off the street with no underlying justification. Both of these acts are profound offenses against Americans. We demand not only that these acts end, but also that they remove their forces immediately from our state. Given the egregious nature of the violations against Oregonians, we are demanding full investigations by them.
Both of Merkley’s claims appear to be erroneous. The agents wore CPB insignia, and according to DHS, identified themselves to the “protestor.” DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf released a comprehensive timeline of the damage caused by “violent anarchists” since the riots began on May 29 that easily debunks Merkley’s second claim of “no underlying justification.”
George Washington Law School Professor Jonathan Turley wrote, “As a legal matter, Portland cannot force the federal officers out of Portland or prevent arrests for federal offenses. This is the other side of federalism. The federal government has jurisdiction in the protection of federal buildings and the arrest of suspects in federal crimes.”
The Portland rioters have damaged federal buildings including the Edith Green-Wenell Wyatt Federal Building and the Hatfield Courthouse. They have also vandalized the Gus J. Solomon Courthouse and the Pioneer Courthouse. On July 10, a mob tried to “ambush the Portland Police Department during a shift change, but a DHS team was deployed and able to prevent any attacks.”
The anarchists have assaulted law enforcement officers with rocks, bottles, hammers, tasers, and stun guns. They “launched fireworks, threw fecal matter and large objects, and pointed lasers at federal law enforcement officers.”
Friday night marked the fiftieth night of rioting in the city. The whole country has been watching the situation in Portland devolve. President Trump has every right to send in “the feds” when federal laws are being broken, especially when city and state officials fail to act.
In a press conference today, Portland mayor @tedwheeler blames @realDonaldTrump & @DHSgov for the antifa riots in Portland. A reporter then points out the riots were already happening for 5 straight weeks before DHS came. https://t.co/mapGK7zRGx pic.twitter.com/rwIZobnYdV
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 18, 2020
“Please pack up and go home” was the response from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown when Wolf called to offer federal assistance.
Democrats and the media, of course, have provided the necessary spin for Mayor Wheeler and Gov. Brown. Ahead of his show on Friday night, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted, “Also: Oregon’s governor and one of its senators join me tonight to tell us about Donald Trump’s paramilitary invasion of their state.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her full support to Wheeler and Brown. In a series of tweets on Friday, she wrote, “Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti…These are not the actions of a democratic republic…@DHSgov’s actions in Portland undermine its mission…Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.”
Then she added, “First Amendment speech should never be met with one-sided violence from federal agents acting as Trump’s secret police, especially when unidentified. This is disgraceful behavior we would expect from a banana republic — not the government of the United States.”
Actually, allowing riots and vandalism to continue in a city for nearly two months is what we would expect to find in a banana republic.
The reality in Portland is the opposite of the situation Pelosi describes. One city resident posted on Twitter about some of the tactics favored by the rioters: “Destruction of statues, burning of police precincts, incendiary devices thrown at police, laser pointers pointed at officer’s eyes, bags of urine and feces thrown at officers.”
The video below offers a description as well as a visual representation of the current state of affairs in the city.
— matt’s idea shop (@MattsIdeaShop) July 18, 2020
I’m pretty sure Democrats’ defense of the Portland riots will not be a winning issue for them in November.