WaPo: Trump’s Secret Police Are Terrorizing The Activist Community In Portland
Since the killing of George Floyd by police in May, downtown Portland, Oregon, sees nightly protesters clashing with law enforcement officials.
A group of men in military fatigues and generic “police” patches appeared out of an unmarked gray minivan on Wednesday morning.
- Mark Pettibone, a Portland resident, did not know if the men were police or right-wing extremists aiming to harass the protesters. He ran away, but realized the effort was pointless and sank to kneel with his hands up. The protester says he was simply exercising his right to free speech.
- “I was terrified,” Pettibone told The Washington Post. “It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon.”
- Pettibone was detained and searched, then held in a cell in the federal courthouse. Officers asked if he would waive his Miranda rights to answer a few questions, but he declined. Pettibone was abruptly released.
Pettibone still does not know who arrested him or if that even was a legal arrest, as the officers never told him why he was detained.
- Legal scholars question the constitutionality of the detentions by federal officials.“Arrests require probable cause that a federal crime had been committed, that is, specific information indicating that the person likely committed a federal offense, or a fair probability that the person committed a federal offense,” said Orin Kerr, a professor at University of California at Berkeley Law School. “If the agents are grabbing people because they may have been involved in protests, that’s not probable cause.”
- The U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security carried out President Trump’s attempt to squash the protests. Alarmed responses have escalated, especially since Marshals Service officers wounded a peaceful protester on Saturday.
- Civil rights advocates said the Trump administration is testing the boundaries of executive power, to “see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country, according to Zakir Khan, spokesman from Council on American-Islamic Relations.
- Jann Carson from the American Civil Liberties Union called the arrests “flat-out unconstitutional.” “Protesters in Portland have been shot in the head, swept away in unmarked cars.”
Meanwhile, the president “has cheered harsh tactics by officers in Portland, and the acting Homeland Security secretary has vowed to keep federal forces in Portland until local leaders “publicly condemn what the violent anarchists are doing,” The Post reported.
“We’ve done a great job in Portland,” Trump said at a news conference on Monday. “Portland was totally out of control, and they went in, and I guess we have many people right now in jail. We very much quelled it, and if it starts again, we’ll quell it again very easily. It’s not hard to do, if you know what you’re doing.”