Secret Police Storm Portland
The Trump administration has invaded Portland, Ore., with unidentified federal agents, dressed head-to-toe in camouflage, who are driving around in unmarked vehicles and arresting people in the streets without provocation.
Oregon’s governor, both its senators and the city’s mayor have all demanded it stop.
This is a similar playbook to the one tested in Washington, D.C., during the height of the George Floyd protests last month, when riot police who were eventually identified as being a special tactical unit with the Bureau of Prisons participated in forcibly relocating peaceful protesters so that Donald Trump could hold a Bible in front of a church.
It is an alarming development, to say the least, especially considering Trump appears hurtling toward near-certain defeat at the ballot box. Should he refuse to step aside, it would likely spark nationwide demonstrations that would dwarf what we have seen in the last two months.
Would Trump respond like this? Is this a prelude to his declaring martial law? What used to be unthinkable in this country now must be considered as legitimate possibilities.
“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters,” Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said in a tweet that accompanied video of a man, dressed in black, being snatched off the street for seemingly no reason.
“These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America and must end.”
Portland is a liberal bastion, so it makes sense Trump would use it as an example to try and gin up his base of right-wing extremists. That’s what Oregon Governor Kate Brown is accusing Trump of doing. Brown told local media that she is convinced Trump is trying to stir violence so that he can appear to be tough on demonstrators.
“This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety,” Brown said, according to Willamette Week. “The president is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has also asked acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to withdraw his shadowy paramilitary police force from the city. Wolf, who arrived in Portland on Thursday, refused, the report said.
This is the second U.S. city in which the Trump administration has used these tactics since Defense Secretary Mark Esper told governors they needed to, “dominate the streets,” in early June.
The officers in Portland come from the U.S. Marshals Special Operation Group and from Customs and Border Protection, according to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting. But to the ordinary individual on the street, it’s just a bunch of men dressed in military fatigues jumping out of unmarked rental vehicles. They could be anyone.
What is to stop, for example, members of right-wing militias from showing up in the city to do likewise? They could easily blend in and start beating protesters at will. How are the demonstrators supposed to know who is legitimate and who isn’t?
We don’t have secret police in this country. That is the domain of dictatorial regimes. This is totally unacceptable and cannot be permitted to continue on U.S. soil. Policing in this country has enough problems.
And those are with the cops we can identify.