Agreement for the withdrawal of highly controversial federal police officers from Portland
The departure of the “occupying forces” for the Democratic governor, “cooperation” too long-awaited for the secretary of Homeland Security: the authorities of Oregon and the American government announced Wednesday that they had reached an agreement on the gradual withdrawal of police officers Portland Federals. Earlier today, the White House sent a statement about sending federal troops to three new US cities.
“After discussions with the vice president and government officials, the federal government has accepted my request and will begin withdrawing its agents” effective Thursday, July 30, Kate Brown, Democratic governor of Oregon, wrote in a statement. .
For his part, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf stressed that these federal police officers were “still here” and will stay “until we see that the plan is working and the tribunal is over. not perpetually attacked ”.
The local police are responsible for maintaining order outside the buildings, while federal agents are responsible for securing the premises as usual.
“The State of Oregon has finally agreed to cooperate with our federal forces, exactly what we have been asking for since the violence erupted two months ago. We are happy that Oregon is correcting its mistakes, ”said the minister.
The announcement was all the more surprising as the president had launched a few hours earlier that the local authorities first had to “clean up” the city.
“If they don’t secure their city soon, we won’t have a choice, we will go clean it up ourselves. We will do that very easily “, assured journalists the Republican President, who is campaigning for his re-election on the theme of” law and order “.
Praising the “fantastic job” of the federal police officers dispatched to the scene since the beginning of July, Mr. Trump had once again accused the demonstrators who have marched through downtown Portland for sixty days of being only “anarchists and agitators ”.
Trellis and unmarked vehicles
The death of black forty-something George Floyd suffocated on May 25 in Minneapolis by a white police officer, sparked huge anti-racist protests across the United States. Mobilization weakened considerably, but pockets of protest persisted, especially in Portland.
The deployment of federal agents, sometimes from customs or border police and sporting a whole military panoply, had the effect of hardening the movement in this city with a long history of protest.
Videos showing officers in fatigues circulating in unmarked vehicles to arrest certain demonstrators in the streets were particularly scandalous. They helped broaden the audience for the anti-racist protests in Portland, held every night around federal court.
For two weeks, these peaceful gatherings almost systematically end up degenerating into clashes with the police.
Tuesday again, this had allowed the Secretary of Justice, Bill Barr, to paint an apocalyptic picture of the situation, evoking “hundreds of rioters” equipped with “slingshots, Taser, hammers, saws, knives, guns, explosives … ”To justify the intervention of the federal police.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has a radically different take on the facts. “These federal police officers acted as an occupying force, refused to account and brought violence and conflict to our city,” she wrote in her statement.
A growing number of anti-racist activists in the Black Lives Matter movement have deplored the violence on both sides in recent days, which they believe distracts from the message they intend to convey.
Three new cities targeted
Since sending federal forces to Portland, the government has decided to send them to other major cities across the country, mostly run by Democrats, such as Chicago.
The government of Donald Trump announced Wednesday sending these forces in three new cities: Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. “These three cities are experiencing a disturbing increase in violent crime, particularly homicides,” Justice Secretary Bill Barr said in a statement.
Around 100 agents will be dispatched in the coming weeks, according to the Justice Department, which deplores a rise in homicides of 13% in Cleveland, 31% in Detroit and 85% in Milwaukee since the beginning of the year. .
The elected officials of these cities have already expressed their reservations about these deployments. “The recent conduct of federal agents in Portland, Oregon has caused serious concern in Milwaukee and Wisconsin about the purpose and scope of a federal law enforcement mission in our city and our State ”, in particular wrote Tuesday in anticipation of the elected local Democrats to the federal prosecutor of the district.