(Natural News) Chad Wolf, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has stated clearly that under no circumstances will he be withdrawing federal officers from Portland. Wolf pointed out that civil unrest was still rampant in the city, and federal agents and properties were still being threatened by rioters.
“The DHS is not going to back down from our responsibilities,” Wolf said during an appearance on Fox & Friends on Monday, July 20. “We are not escalating, we are protecting.”
Wolf’s statement comes in response to calls for federal officers to withdraw from the city following accusations by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local and state officials that the DHS roams the city in unmarked vans snatching and arresting rioters off the streets.
Other allegations include the use of excessive force, such as in one video where federal officers in tactical gear emerge from the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, a federal building, dispersing rioters using crowd control munitions such as tear gas.
No authorization from local officials needed to detain suspects
During the interview, Wolf said that he did not need any kind of authorization or invitation from local officials before federal law enforcement units are deployed in order to detain suspects.
“I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not,” Wolf said.
Wolf added that he is open to working with state and local officials and that the officers of the DHS have a great working relationship with many local law enforcement units, including the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).
“However, there are some communities that, again, want to breed this environment that allows this lawlessness.”
His remarks mirror those of Acting Deputy Secretary for the DHS, Ken Cuccinelli, who told reporters on the same day that federal agents could be deployed to other cities dealing with civil unrest should the department learn of “planned attacks” against either federal officers or federal properties.
Both Mayor Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown have insisted that DHS agents need to leave and cannot operate in the state without the express permission of either official.
“I told Acting Secretary Wolf that the federal government should remove all federal officers from our streets,” said Gov. Brown on a post on her social media page. “His response showed me he is on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.”
Trump insists federal officers there to help besieged Portland residents
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday, July 19, to vent his frustration at the attempts made by Portland and Oregon officials to stonewall his efforts to use federal agents to end the rioting and general atmosphere of lawlessness in the city.
Trump wrote that federal agents were sent to Portland to help the city, not hurt it. They were there because local officials have spent nearly the past two months losing more and more control in the wake of escalating aggression by “anarchists and agitators.” He further rejected the label that the demonstrators in Portland were protesters, although he didn’t elaborate on this any further.
“These are the real deal!” he said.
We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2020
Trump also stated that more must be done to protect both the residents of Portland and the properties of the federal government in the city, such as the Federal Courthouse where federal agents, with support from the PPB, engage in nightly battles against groups of organized rioters.
The sentiment that Portland officials have abandoned their constituents is shared by the PPB. Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner, who’s union represents rank-and-file officers, said that city officials need to begin condemning the violence as well as the “looting and burning” being conducted by the rioters. (Related: Federal agents arrive in Portland to fight back against Antifa and Black Lives Matter – but city leaders want them gone.)
Reports have also stated that Wolf is looking to expand the DHS’s operations into other cities, starting with Chicago, where around 150 federal agents will be sent in for “crime-fighting efforts.”
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