Federal officers to withdraw from downtown Portland, governor says

Federal Agents Push Into Portland Streets Stretching Limits of Their Authority

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has said federal officials previously refused to clean the courthouse, contributing to the impression that the entire city was under siege.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, who oversees CBP and ICE, said Oregon State Police would secure a perimeter outside the courthouse and be positioned inside the courthouse grounds with regular federal police. "They started before federal agents descended on our city and they will likely continue after they leave", Brown said.

Kate Brown, a Democrat, agreed this week to send state troopers to Portland to help respond to rioting, but her claims that federal officers and agents are going to leave immediately thereafter conflict with top federal officials.

Wolf said late Wednesday morning that Oregon State Police "will coordinate" with federal authorities to ensure the protection of federal facilities, such as the courthouse, but also said DHS "will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other deferral properties will no longer be attacked".

"Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians' right to free speech and keep the peace". Governor Brown has committed to help guard against the vandalism of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Court House, which has been at the center of the clashes between protesters and feds.

Without providing details, Brown added that she has directed state officers to use "each and every strategy to de-escalate and avoid confrontation with protesters".

The announcement was an abrupt about-face from just two days earlier, when the US government said it might send more federal agents to Portland instead.

Many protesters want reduced funding for the Portland Police Bureau and are angry that city officers used tear gas on protesters multiple times before federal agents arrived.

After the deal was reached, Wolf told reporters the federal "law enforcement presence in Portland will remain in Portland, whether they're staying inside the courthouse, next door or a different location".

Why it matters: The news comes after weeks of violent clashes between protesters and federal law enforcement deployed by the Trump administration to protect Portland's federal courthouse.

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Federal agents have used tactics, including flash grenades, pepper spray and pepper balls as well as batons, to disperse crowds. Federal agents will mostly remain inside, she said, though there will be some forces remaining outside.

Officials in both OR and Washington state denounced the deployments and said their presence ratcheted up tensions with protesters.

Wheeler is the city's police and parks commissioner.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaks earlier this month at a news conference.

Solidarity protests spread over the weekend to other US cities, prompting complaints by Democratic mayors that federal deployments were escalating tensions across the country.

"The President's plan to "dominate" the streets of American cities has failed".

"The vice president was very clear that law and order must be restored in Portland", O'Malley said in a statement.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the committee chairman, pushed back on Barr's characterization of the protests.

Members of the group of mothers have "been tear-gassed night after night, left vomiting and unable to eat or sleep because of the toxic poison blasted at them", the lawsuit said. Real leadership would entail de-escalation, collaboration, and looking for ways to peaceably resolve our differences.

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