In a massive win for protesters, the government is pulling federal forces from Portland. Oregon governor Kate Brown and acting DHS chief Chad Wolf announced the news. Brown said the federal forces were inciting violence in otherwise peaceful protests.
“After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence,” Brown tweeted. “Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland.”
Black Lives Matter
Anti-racism protests by the Black Lives Matter movement have taken place in Portland nightly since May. On May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed unarmed black man George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly ten minutes. This sparked nationwide outrage and fueled anti-racism protests.
Many protesters have called for the defunding of the police across the country. The protesters define the “defunding” of police in many different ways. Some say it means redefining which situations require lethal force. They think funding social programs to help complex issues like housing crises and drug addiction is better than having police do it all.
President Trump has had harsh words for these protestors. He has painted them as anarchists who defy laws and want pure chaos. Often, Trump highlights the rare photos of looting and violence from parts of the protests. The president characterizes the protesters as opportunists looking to steal big screen TVs and AT&T promo codes.
Federal Forces Clash With Protesters
In recent weeks, federal forces including the DHS and Border Patrol have been acting as police in Portland. Many protesters have decried their activity, saying the feds are acting as “secret police” who wear no ID tags and arrest people extrajudicially. The ACLU has sued the Trump administration over the forces, as have organizations representing the protesters.
By way of response, the federal government has backed down. Seeming tired of the public’s open disdain for the unconstitutional activities, Chad Wolf has ordered the forces to leave Portland.
However, Wolf also took a harsher view of the protesters than Governor Brown. Wolf released a statement at the same time as Brown, stating they “have agreed to a joint plan to end the violent activity in Portland directed at federal properties and law enforcement officers.”
Wolf continued, “That plan includes a robust presence of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland. State and local law enforcement will begin securing properties and streets, especially those surrounding federal properties, that have been under nightly attack for the past two months.”