The crackdown came as acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf accused Portland officials of failing to restore order during seven weeks of protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd.
"Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the fearless law enforcement officers protecting it", said Wolf.
It's unclear how much the local authorities knew in advance about federal agents coming to police Portland; though several officials have confirmed that the agencies deployed were neither invited nor particularly welcome.
The officers, dressed in camouflage, have reportedly been driving in unmarked non-government rental vehicles.
Due to Secretary Wolf's new dedication to ending the excessive violence consuming the city and threatening the lives of officers and law-abiding citizens, federal law enforcement officers arrived on July 10 to help suppress the violence.
Law enforcement officers who have been working to protect the courthouse have been subjected to "threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high-intensity lasers targeting officers' eyes; [and] thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint from demonstrators while performing their duties", the statement added. "That's just not going to happen on my watch", Wolf said.
"What we've seen around the country is where responsible policing is advanced, violence recedes", Cuccinelli said.
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"All United States Marshals Service arrestees have public records of arrest documenting their charges", the U.S. Marshals Service told the outlet in a statement. If Portland will not lead in de-escalating the situation then the federal troops will take lead, and we have already seen how risky that will be for Portlanders exercising their first amendment rights.
Federal officers deployed tear gas and rounds created to be less lethal into a crowd of protesters in OR on Thursday evening, hours after the head of the Department of Homeland Security visited Portland and called the demonstrators "violent anarchists".
Following confrontations from the night before, and with renewed vigor to quell protests, Wolf tweeted on Friday morning, "We will prevail".
Video footage captured by people in the crowd showed officers deploying chemical gas. Pettibone told OBP that he was not told why he had been arrested.
Earlier in July, Portland saw riots during the Independence Day weekend protests against police violence, when over a dozen people were arrested amid the clashes. Mayor Ted Wheeler said he spoke with with U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams and learned of the investigation. "The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered". We don't need you.
"The best thing [federal officers] can do is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether", Wheeler continued. Federal officers were assisting local officers with crowd control measures. "And I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn't see and they held my hands over my head".