Protests against police brutality/in solidarity with Black Lives Matter have been occurring throughout the world ever since George Floyd’s untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May. While these protests have all remained relatively peaceful, there are countless examples of police/military forces coming in and acting extremely violent towards these protesters who are expressing their first amendment right.
Portland, Oregon has now become a spot of experimentation for how violent these forces can get, as Trump and his administration have deployed militarized federal agents into the city to put a stop to the protests. The breaking point for Portland specifically occurred after police claimed that protesters broke into the Portland Police Association building and set it on fire.
In one video posted on Twitter this week, a reporter records as a man who is repeatedly beaten by multiple federal officers for simply standing still in the middle of the road. Tear gas and the sounds of explosions echo in the background, a setting that has become all too familiar at these protests that all remain peaceful until outside forces get involved.
“We have dozens, if not hundreds of federal troops descending upon our city. And … they are sharply escalating the situation. Their presence is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism,” one protester claimed.
Even more disturbing in Portland, and other parts of the US as well, there have been multiple reports of federal agents driving through the city in unmarked vehicles, picking up protesters from the streets without any explanation or reading of Miranda rights. Many of these agents don’t even have professional credentials, and are reportedly just men dressed in camouflage with “police” patches on.
One protester recounted the gruesome scenes in Portland as she discussed the goals of these protests, and how much more passionate the crowds are becoming as a response to the government’s violent actions towards its own citizens.
“We can talk about defunding the police, but it’s more than that. We need to defund Ice [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], we need to demilitarize our border. There’s so much that’s wrapped up in this.”
On Sunday Trump responded by tweeting how he wants to help Portland and protecting “Federal property and our people” is his number one priority. However, the mayor of Portland even called out these federal officers and Trump, claiming that the “president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect.”
Governor Kate Brown also recently spoke out against the president’s actions within her state, claiming that Trump is guilty of a “blatant abuse of power by the federal government.” Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum went as far as filing a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security, Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protection Service. Within the lawsuit Rosenblum is making a similar claim to Brown’s, and is suing on the grounds of federal agents violating state citizen’s right to peacefully protest as well as their due process rights; as many citizens are continuously ripped off the streets and “arrested.”