The mayor of Portland demanded that President Donald Trump remove militarized federal agents he deployed to the city after a series of videos uploaded online showed them, kidnapping protesters, off the street in black SUVs, OPB reported.
“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said.
Wheeler stated that deploying the federal troops was apart of Trump’s media strategy to prop up his falling polling data.
“This is part of the core media strategy out of Trump’s White House: to use federal troops to bolster his sagging polling data,” Wheeler said. “And it is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials.”
Wheeler also added that Trump had used Portland as a staging ground to further his own agenda in an attempt to cause divisiveness.
“Over the past week, President Trump has used our city as a staging ground to further his political agenda, igniting his base to cause further divisiveness,” Wheeler continued during the Friday afternoon press conference. “Mr. President, federal agencies should never be used as your own personal army.”
Wheeler noted that the troops were not accountable to him, the City Council or even the public.
“We have Donald Trump sending troops into our streets who are not accountable to me or to the City Council or to the public at large, we don’t know what they are doing or why they are doing it,” he said.
The mayor added that he felt the presence of the federal officers had added fuel to the protests around the Multnomah County Justice Center, which he said had dwindled in recent weeks.
“They blew the whole thing back up again,” he said.
Democratic Gov. Kate Brown suggested that Trump is looking for a confrontation to distract from the ongoing pandemic and gain political points.
Brown’s spokesman, Charles Boyle, said Friday that arresting people without probable cause is “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights.”
The ACLU of Oregon said the federal agents appear to be violating citizens’ rights, which “should concern everyone in the United States.”
“Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. “The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”
Shocking video uploaded online showed unknown federal agents in an unmarked vehicle literally snatching people off of the street.
Militarized Federal Agents from a patchwork of outside agencies have begun policing Portland (in rented minivans vans) without the explicit approval of the mayor, the state, or local municipalities. This is what that looks like in practice: pic.twitter.com/losap4SsgI
— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) July 15, 2020
The above video isn’t the only instance of Federal law enforcement officers using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters grabbing them off the streets. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show officers driving up to people, detaining individuals without any explanation of why they are being arrested, and then speeding off.
The federal law enforcement officers are allegedly in Portland under the Trump administration’s new executive orders to protect U.S. monuments. For months, numerous statues and monuments across the U.S. have become targets of protesters who deem them to be racist and a symbol of white supremacy.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to sign an executive order promising that vandals destroying statues will receive 10 years in prison if they are caught, Anewspost previously reported.