USA agents in Portland to pull back, but tensions remain

USA agents in Portland to pull back, but tensions remain

President Trump on Thursday reiterated that such a withdrawal was dependent on local law enforcement taking over, tweeting that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown "must clear out, and in some cases arrest, the Anarchists & Agitators in Portland".

The Trump administration has started talks with the OR governor's office and indicated that it would begin to draw down the presence of federal agents sent to quell two months of chaotic protests in Portland if the state stepped up its own enforcement, a senior White House official said Tuesday.

A federal officer stands guard behind a hole in the fence blocking access to the federal courthouse in Portland on 24 July 2020.

In recent days demonstrations in Oregon's most populous city have turned violent, with reports of some in the crowd throwing bottles, firing mortar-style fireworks over a metal barricade and clashing with federal agents sent to protect the federal courthouse and other properties.

Their deployment exacerbated the civil unrest, especially when footage emerged of demonstrators being grabbed off the street by federal officers and forced into unmarked cars.

Ms. Brown, a Democrat, confirmed the deal on Twitter - though she saw the details differently, saying Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel will withdraw starting Thursday.

The Justice Department watchdog said that it would investigate use of force allegations in Portland, while its counterpart at the Department of Homeland Security said it would examine whether officers from the agency improperly detained and transported protesters in the city last week.

"That plan includes a robust presence of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland", he said.

Like many other protests nationwide touched off by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, the Portland demonstrations sought to highlight and call for an end to racial injustice, but they had increasingly focused on federal property even before the US agents arrived.

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The agreement tentatively marks an end to a weeks-long feud between the federal government and state and local officials who have backed protesters and accused federal law enforcement of escalating violence with their presence and response to the riots. "So feds can stay as long as they want". They've got a very short time to do it.

"We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack", he added in a statement.

Despite Wolf's pledge to keep federal agents in Portland until federal properties are secure, the New York Times' headline on the announcement picked up Brown's claim.

In a statement, Mr Barr said all three Democratic-run cities "have seen disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides".

Separately, the Justice Department said it would send dozens of law enforcement officials to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit, following similar deployments to Chicago, Kansas City, Missouri; and Albuquerque, New Mexico earlier this month.

As part of the agreement, Brown explained in a subsequent tweet, federal agents would be replaced with Oregon State Police officers.

Federal law enforcement tear-gassed rioters swarming a courthouse fence in Portland on Wednesday in the 62nd consecutive night of unrest in the liberal city, as tensions remain high despite a tentative agreement between OR officials and the Trump administration for the feds to pull back.

She did agree to deploy state police, though she cast their mission as protecting protesters, rather than the federal buildings that have been under attack. The Governor and I agree: OR resources, expertise, and values are sufficient to manage OR issues.

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