Pages

Friday, 24 July 2020

DOJ watchdog probes claims federal agents beat and teargassed peaceful protests in Portland AND before Donald Trump's infamous Bible photo-op

The U.S. Justice Department's internal watchdog on Thursday launched probes into the use of force by federal agents in Portland, Oregon, and Washington during recent protests against police violence.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office will launch an investigation into allegations that federal agents used excessive force against peaceful protesters in Portland and a separate review into actions taken against protesters both in Portland, as well as in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 1.
The review will look specifically at whether officers involved had proper identification, and if they complied with federal policies on using force in law enforcement, Horowitz said in a statement.
Use of force questions: The conduct of Department of Homeland Security agents in Portland, including the beating of Navy veteran Christopher David, will be reviewed by the DOJ and Department of Homeland Security inspectors general
Use of force questions: The conduct of Department of Homeland Security agents in Portland, including the beating of Navy veteran Christopher David, will be reviewed by the DOJ and Department of Homeland Security inspectors general
Focus of probe: Attorney General Bill Barr's involvement in the clearing out of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square to allow Donald Trump to brandish a Bible in front of St. John's Church will be part of the review
Focus of probe: Attorney General Bill Barr's involvement in the clearing out of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square to allow Donald Trump to brandish a Bible in front of St. John's Church will be part of the review
Focus of probe: Attorney General Bill Barr's involvement in the clearing out of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square to allow Donald Trump to brandish a Bible in front of St. John's Church will be part of the review
Infamous moment: Police in riot gear, some of them mounted, used baton rounds and tear gas to remove peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square to make way for Donald Trump
Infamous moment: Police in riot gear, some of them mounted, used baton rounds and tear gas to remove peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square to make way for Donald Trump
Procession: Donald Trump walked to St. John's Church with (left) AG Bill Barr, who was involved in the planning of the clear-out, and (far right) General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who later apologized for being there and wearing combat uniforms.
Procession: Donald Trump walked to St. John's Church with (left) AG Bill Barr, who was involved in the planning of the clear-out, and (far right) General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who later apologized for being there and wearing combat uniforms. 
Trump visits church near White House after cops clear the street
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time2:45
Fullscreen
Need Text
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has come under fire after videos surfaced online that appeared to show camouflaged officers in Portland carrying guns without clear insignia on their uniforms identifying them as legitimate law enforcement officers.
That came a month after police on horseback and armed soldiers used tear gas and rubber bullets to push protesters back before Trump walked from the White House across Lafayette Square to St. John's Episcopal Church, where he held up a Bible for a photo. 
In Washington, investigators will look at the training and instruction provided to the federal agents who responded to protest activity at Lafayette Square. 
Among the questions being studied are whether the agents followed Justice Department guidelines, including on identification requirements and in the deployment of chemical agents and use of force.
The investigation was announced amid ongoing chaos in Portland, where Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed by federal agents as he stood outside the courthouse there.
Local authorities in both cities have complained that the presence of federal agents have exacerbated tensions on the streets, while residents have accused the government of violating their constitutional rights.
Civil unrest escalated in Portland after federal agents were accused of whisking people away in unmarked cars without probable cause. 
And in Washington, peaceful protesters were violently cleared from the streets by federal officers using tear gas.
The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyperpoliticized moment when Trump is grasping for a new reelection strategy after the coronavirus upended the economy, dismantling what his campaign had seen as his ticket to a second term.

Gassed: Portland, Oregon, mayor Ted Wheeler was teargassed Wednesday night from rounds fired by federal officers while he was attending a protest against police brutality and racial injustice in front of the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse
Gassed: Portland, Oregon, mayor Ted Wheeler was teargassed Wednesday night from rounds fired by federal officers while he was attending a protest against police brutality and racial injustice in front of the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse
A federal officer points a less-lethal weapon toward a crowd of a few hundred protesters in front of the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse early Thursday morning
A federal officer points a less-lethal weapon toward a crowd of a few hundred protesters in front of the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse early Thursday morning 
During his appearance, Wheeler promised that he would continue to try to get federal agents out of Portland. 'I am doing everything in my power to get them to leave,' he told protesters
During his appearance, Wheeler promised that he would continue to try to get federal agents out of Portland. 'I am doing everything in my power to get them to leave,' he told protesters
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tear gassed during protests
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time1:55
Fullscreen
Need Text
Trump has seized on a moment of spiking violence in some cities, claiming it will only rise if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November and Democrats have a chance to make the police reforms they have endorsed after the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests demanding racial justice.
The federal response is likely to be a major topic of discussion next week when Attorney General William Barr appears before the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing.
Trump has targeted Democratic-run cities, provoking criticism that he is using law enforcement resources for political ends. 
In recent days, Democratic lawmakers sent a letter asking for an investigation amid concerns that Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf were using federal agents to 'suppress First Amendment protected activities.' 
The First Amendment to the Constitution protects the right to peacefully assemble.
Horowitz said he would be coordinating with the internal watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security in his investigation into excessive force in Portland, a probe which was requested by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon in addition to House Democrats.
The White House did not immediately comment on the announcement, and spokespersons for the Justice Department and U.S. Park Police, part of the Department of the Interior, could not be immediately reached.
A spokesman for the Federal Protective Service, part of DHS, declined to comment on a pending investigation. 

No comments:

Post a comment