Federal Employees News Digest

Feds across multiple agencies pressed into DOJ’s protest crackdown

Federal employees serving in an unusually wide assortment of law enforcement and investigative agencies were pulled into management of national protests following the police detention and killing of George Floyd.

To facilitate a wider federal presence, particularly in Washington, D.C., the Department of Justice conferred temporary expanded authority to many of its component agencies, pushing them beyond their normal responsibilities. Those new duties include the conducting “covert surveillance” and making arrests for wide scope of infractions, ranging from vandalism to terrorism.

Feds so assigned and put in the protest areas came the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to the U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Michael Castelle Sr., the former national fair practices coordinator for the American Federation of Government Employee Council of Prison Locals C-33, said in an interview that such teams may be deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service to perform arrests, enforce crowd control, and protect federal buildings.

The BOP members deployed in the District’s streets were not wearing identifying name plates, official insignia, or agency markings of any kind on their uniforms. The Bureau said that it was common for some personnel to not wear identifying information on their gear and that D.C.-deployed members were not wearing BOP-specific clothing because they "were serving a broader mission."

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