Sheriff’s deputies and police federalized under anti-riot plan in Oregon
Oregon sheriff’s deputies from Multnomah County and police from Portland were deputized as U.S. Marshals over the weekend, subjecting protesters who assault them to federal prosecution and undermining Multnomah county’s District Attorney’s policy of releasing violent protesters without pressing charges.
“For the next three months, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will have the option to prosecute anyone arrested by the federally deputized law enforcement officers. Anyone arrested for attacking one of those officers could also face federal charges, which often come with more severe penalties,” says Oregon Public Radio, opb.com.
“If they were attacked, whoever attacked them could face federal charges and be prosecuted differently,” said Dave Oney, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service.
Previously, 50 Oregon State Troopers had been deputized as U.S. Marshals under a state agreement with the White House that saw federal police leave Portland, provided Oregon authorities protected federal property like the courthouse.
“Portland Police Sgt. Kevin Allen told The Oregonian/OregonLive that 56 officers, sergeants and lieutenants from the bureau’s rapid response team, which typically polices protests, were sworn in and will be allowed to make arrests in place of federal officers,” says the Oregonian.
So far, it looks like the strategy is working.
Over the weekend, Portland hosted a large rally of conservative Proud Boys that witnessed the arrest of just three protesters, each of whom was not associated with the conservative group.
“Like I said, if anything happens today that’s violent, it won’t be because of us,” said Joe Biggs, one of the organizers of the Proud Boy rally.
The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the federalization of the deputies as unconstitutional.
“During a time where we have an incumbent presidential candidate who is willing to push the bounds of federal law enforcement authority — constitution be damned — it’s really troubling that our government officials would be willing to help expand the number of federal police officers on Oregon streets,” said ACLU of Oregon legal director Kelly Simon.
But police officials said that the ability to charge protesters under federal law who show up night after night causing damage and attacking police is an important tool in making sure that protests remain truly peaceful—at the very least so the officers are protected.
“Portland Officers have been serving on the front lines of nightly protests for months, sustaining injuries and encountering unspeakable violence,” Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said. “If I am to send them into harm’s way this weekend, on my authority, I’m going to ensure they have all the protections and authority of an OSP Trooper.”
PHOTO: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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