July 20 (UPI)– Democratic congressional leaders have called for an examination into the legality of the Trump administrations use of federal police officers throughout protests following reports of abusive practices being released against demonstrators in Portland.
In a letter to the inspectors general of the Justice and Homeland Security Departments on Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney advised for an investigation to be opened into reports Trump administration officials have actually abused emergency situation authorities to prevent Americans from exercising their right to peaceful assembly.
” We write to ask for an examination by your offices into the usage of federal police by the attorney general and the acting secretary of Homeland Security to suppress First Amendment-protected activities in Washington, D.C., Portland and other neighborhoods across the United States,” the three Democratic congressional leaders stated in the letter.
The call follows reports that federal officers have actually been utilizing unmarked lorries to take protesters from the streets without description amidst intensifying demonstrations versus police cruelty and racial inequality in Portland that started 6 weeks earlier, triggered by the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.
The 3 Democrats implicated Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf of abusing an executive order President Donald Trump signed on June 26 to safeguard statues as validation for the arrests.
Wolf, in a statement on Thursday, chastised regional and state leaders of failing in their reaction to the protests in Portland, prompting them to accept his offer of support.
” DHS will not renounce its solemn responsibility to secure federal facilities and those within them,” he said.
In a declaration on Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said representatives were deployed to Portland in support of that executive order as “violent anarchists” have actually organized in the city “with willful intent to damage and destroy federal home as well as injure federal officers and representatives.”
On Saturday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced the state is taking legal action against federal law enforcement firms over their officers alleged seizure and detainment of homeowners without likely cause and excessive force.
The Democratic leaders composed Sunday that Barr “does not have unfettered authority” to direct federal law enforcement agents to jail and apprehend Americans exercising their First Amendment rights which Wolf appears to be counting on Trumps executive order planned to safeguard statues as validation “for arresting American residents in the dead of night.”
” The administrations persistence on deploying these forces over the objections of state and regional authorities recommend that these strategies have little to do with public security however more to do with political gamesmanship,” they composed.
The Democrats also accused the Trump administration of abusing its power on June 1 when horse-mounted federal representatives used chemical agents, smoke and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., so the president could take a picture holding his bible in front of a church.
Trump defended his administrations actions in Portland on Sunday, stating “we are trying to help Portland, not injure it.”
” Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators,” he tweeted. We should secure federal residential or commercial property, AND OUR PEOPLE.
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” Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators,” he tweeted. We should safeguard federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the genuine offer!”