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What Are Federal Officers Doing In Portland, Oregon?

Federal police walk through tear gas while dispersing a crowd of about a thousand protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, Ore.
Federal police walk through tear gas while dispersing a crowd of about a thousand protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, Ore.

As protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue around the U.S., federal law enforcement come into cities like Portland, Oregon to shut down demonstrators. But in recent days, there have been reports of unmarked vehicles and unidentifiable officers pulling protestors off the streets in Portland. Heavily armed and dressed in camouflage, many of these federal officers have appeared in footage detaining individuals with no explanation before driving off.

The escalation in policing tactics by federal law enforcement appears to come under the directives of federal officials and the Trump administration in an effort to curb protests outside of federal courthouses.

But a recent report by Oregon Public Broadcasting found that these officers have been arresting protestors who aren’t near federal property. Some dispute being engaged in criminal activities at all. Earlier this month, a demonstrator was hospitalized with a fractured skull after being shot in the head by these federal officers.

— Zolan Kanno-Youngs (@KannoYoungs) July 20, 2020

Oregon’s governor said she wants these officials to leave. But acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says they won’t “retreat.”

Why is the Trump administration insisting on keeping these officers in place? We talk with a reporter from Oregon Public Broadcasting for the latest.

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