BLM protesters in Portland, Ore. (Diego G Diaz/Shutterstock.com)

Watchdogs at DHS, Justice to probe actions against protesters

The Trump administration's use of federal law enforcement agents against protestors in Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore., has attracted the attention of the inspectors general of the Departments of Justice and  Homeland Security.

On June 1, President Donald Trump ordered federal law enforcement agencies to deploy to Washington, D.C., to police ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd. Agents assigned to restore order to the nation’s capital were from FBI, Secret Service, Park Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service, Capitol Police, Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol units and others, Attorney General Bill Barr confirmed.

In Portland, a force of 114 federal officers participating in “Operation Diligent Valor" were assigned to protect federal buildings after protesters attempted to set fire to the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse, according to Politico. The federal agents involved come from DHS’ Federal Protective Service, Immigration and ICE and CBP. Personnel from the Justice Department’s Marshals Service, which has responsibility for protecting federal judges and courthouses, were also involved, FPS Northwest Regional Director Gabriel Russell told Politico.

The investigations were announced after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to both IGs demanding they look into the recent actions of federal law enforcement personnel.

In his response, DHS IG Joseph Cuffari wrote that his office had opened an investigation into allegations that DHS officers improperly detained and transported protesters in Portland and will form a multi-disciplinary team to examine the agency’s deployment of law enforcement personnel, evaluating the roles and responsibilities of DHS component agencies.

Similarly, the DOJ IG’s office will look into roles and responsibilities of its component agencies. “The review will include examining the training and instruction that was provided to the DOJ law enforcement personnel; compliance with applicable identification requirements, rules of engagement, and legal authorities; and adherence to DOJ policies regarding the use of less-lethal munitions, chemical agents, and other uses of force,” DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote.

Thompson also announced a July 31 hearing on the DHS’ police actions in Portland and has invited acting Secretary Chad Wolf to testify.

Reader comments

Tue, Aug 4, 2020

The Democrats wanting our country to be demoralized and broken down?? Our country could not be more broken down and demoralized any more than this Autocrat in off has brought upon this country. Make America great again, What a joke.

Mon, Jul 27, 2020 Puregoldj Bethesda, MD

Federal law enforcement people are not the Great Leader's personal militia, and their lack of ID and unmarked cars makes them indistinguishable from extremist thugs (how does someone pulled out a crowd know that they are not just some sort of vigilante??). Also note that their presence is against the will of local authorities, and the comments from the White House are very blatantly partisan. This is what we expect in dictatorships; it has no place in a democracy.

Mon, Jul 27, 2020 Ray Downing Kaneohe, Hawaii

The U.S. is a country of laws. That is the difference between us and 3rd world countries & the CCP.

Mon, Jul 27, 2020

Notice they are all Democrats wanting our country to be demoralized and broken down. A rain of terror for the American citizens , next our homes.

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