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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, attempted to blame the federal government for enflaming tensions in Portland — but immediately got fact checked.
During a press conference with local media on Friday, Wheeler claimed that rhetoric from President Donald Trump and other top government officials, along with intervention from federal law enforcement officers, has enflamed violence in the City of Roses after, as the mayor claimed, local officials had quelled protesters.
“The feds came in, on the heels of some really inflammatory public messaging coming out of Washington, D.C., from the president directly, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, they blew the whole thing back up again,” Wheeler claimed.
“So, in one day, we saw the numbers escalate, we saw new people coming to Portland from out of state,” he added. “This whole situation is now blowing up as a result of the tactics being used by the federal government.”
But a reporter on the call pointed out that local officials have failed to stop the ongoing violence that has plagued Portland for nearly two months.
“The federal government says that they wouldn’t have had to into the city if city leaders had gotten a handle on the riots,” the reporter said. “You say that we can handle it better than the feds can, but we haven’t heard or seen a plan to stop the vandalism or the riots, even prior to the federal government, or federal officers, getting into town.”
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, clandestine officers belonging to the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Customs and Border Protection’s BORTAC were deployed in Portland to protect federal property.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said:
While the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) respects every American’s right to protest peacefully, violence and civil unrest will not be tolerated. Violent anarchists have organized events in Portland over the last several weeks with willful intent to damage and destroy federal property, as well as injure federal officers and agents. These criminal actions will not be tolerated.
CBP agents had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property. Once CBP agents approached the suspect, a large and violent mob moved towards their location. For everyone’s safety, CBP agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location for further questioning. The CBP agents identified themselves and were wearing CBP insignia during the encounter. The names of the agents were not displayed due to recent doxing incidents against law enforcement personnel who serve and protect our country.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components will continue to work tirelessly to reestablish law and order. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is the lead government agency that CBP personnel are supporting. CBP personnel have been deployed to Portland in direct support of the Presidential Executive Order and the newly established DHS Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT). CBP law enforcement personnel have been trained and cross designated under FPS legal authority 40 U.S.C. § 1315.
The Oregon Department of Justice has since filed a lawsuit against several federal agencies over what they claim are civil rights abuses.