Oregon Congressional Dems call for investigation into federal operatives in PDX

Oregon’s Democratic Congressional delegation announced Friday it will ask for a federal investigation into reports of “the unrequested presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland.”

According to a joint release from Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, with U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici , the request for investigations follows federal operatives shooting a peaceful protester in the head and reports and video recordings of unmarked federal agents grabbing protesters from the streets and taking them to unmarked minivans.

The group will ask the Department of Justice and Inspector General offices to investigate.

“DHS and DOJ are engaged in acts that are horrific and outrageous in our constitutional democratic republic,” Merkley said. “First, they are deploying paramilitary forces with no identification indicating who they are or who they work for. Second, these agents are snatching people off the street with no underlying justification. Both of these acts are profound offenses against Americans. We demand not only that these acts end, but also that they remove their forces immediately from our state.”

Gov. Kate Brown said President Donald Trump, who deployed Department of Homeland Security officers to Portland, is looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere.

The Democratic governor on Thursday called the actions “a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.” Her spokesman, Charles Boyle, said Friday that arresting people without probable cause is “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights.”

Wyden said “Oregonians’ demand for answers about this occupying army and its paramilitary assaults in Portland,” should not be stonewalled.

“That’s not how it works in a democracy. It’s painfully clear this administration is focused purely on escalating violence without answering my repeated requests for why this expeditionary force is in Portland and under what constitutional authority,” he said. “Simply put, the Office of Inspector General must investigate Trump’s assault on Americans’ constitutional rights now.”

Earlier this week, the delegation sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf condemning the escalation of violent tactics against protesters, and raising concerns about the presence of federal law enforcement in Portland. They also expressed concerns that the federal agents may be taking direction from leaders outside of Oregon, and asked how those engaging in illegal use of force will be held accountable.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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