Unidentified federal agents in camo and rented minivans are grabbing people off Portland's streets

Federal agents in Portland
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/KOIN)

President Trump has sent an unknown number of federal agents to Portland, Oregon, ostensibly to project federal property amid weeks of protests against racism and police brutality. But federal officers "are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren't near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity," OPB reported Thursday evening. One civil rights lawyer, Juan Chavez, described the federal tactics as "like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay" and "more like abduction" than lawful arrest.

"Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14," OPB reports. "Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off."

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf visited Portland on Thursday and slammed the mayor and governor, claiming "Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city." He released a list of the "lawless destruction and violence" from these "violent anarchists," and most of it was graffiti. Trump praised the federal incursion Monday, saying "Portland was totally out of control" and federal agents "very much quelled it." Federal agents shot one 26-year-old man in the head with "less lethal" munitions last Saturday, fracturing his skull.

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Gov. Kate Brown (D), and Oregon's congressional delegation were pretty clear the feds are not welcome. Wheeler said Tuesday that the federal officers had brought only violence and "life-threatening tactics" to Portland streets, and "we do not need or want their help." Brown said Thursday said she told Wolf he should remove "all federal officers from our streets" and criticized Trump's "political theater" and "blatant abuse of power" in Portland. Sen. Ron Wyden (D) echoed that critique:

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You can read more about the Portland situation, including details of one murky arrest of a pedestrian by federal agents in a rented minivan, at OPB.

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