Portland protesters say federal officers are holding them in unmarked vehicles

Portland protesters say federal officers are holding them in unmarked vehicles
When many men in green military clothing and public police spots drove off from an unmarked gray minibus in front of Mark Pettibon in the early hours of Wednesday morning, his first instinct was to run.

It was not known whether the men were policemen or right-wing extremists, who often did not wear military clothing and harassed left-leaning protesters in Portland, Uri. There will be no escape.

Then he fell on his knees and hands in the air.

"I was terrified," Pettibone told the Washington Post. "It looked like horror / science fiction, like Philip K. Dick's novel. It was like prey."

He was arrested and searched. A man asked him if he had any weapon? he did not do. They took him to the federal court and put him in a holding cell. Two officers eventually returned to read his rights to Miranda and asked them if he would waive those rights to answer some questions; he did not do.

Suddenly almost as they grabbed him from the street, the men let him go.

Pettibone said that he still does not know who arrested him or whether what happened to him was considered to be legal detention. Federal officers who kidnapped him from the street en route to his home from a peaceful protest did not tell him about the reason for his detention or provide him with any record of his arrest, he told the newspaper. To his knowledge, he was not charged with any crimes.

His arrest, which was first reported by the Oregon State Radio, and videos of similar actions by federal officials who roam in Portland in unmarked cars have raised alarm bells for many. Law scholars have questioned whether the arrests pass constitutional.

Orin Kerr, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley Law School, told The Post. "If agents catch people because they may have participated in the protests, this is not a possible reason."

Federal officers from the US Marshal Service and the Department of Homeland Security stormed the streets of Portland as part of President Trump's strong response to the ongoing protests. Local leaders have expressed alarm at news of Pettibon's arrest and echoed calls to leave the Feds, which have grown in strength since the Marshals officers severely injured a peaceful protester on Saturday.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Wrote a peaceful protester in Portland with a bullet in the head by Donald Trump's Secret Police, in a tweet on Thursday that also summoned DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. "Trump and Chad Wolf are now arming the Department of Homeland Security as their own occupation army to provoke violence on the streets of my hometown because they believe it plays well with right-wing media outlets."

Civil rights advocates have suggested that the Trump administration test the limits of its executive authority.

"I think Portland is a test case," Zakir Khan, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oregon, told The Post. "They want to see what they can get away from before setting off to other parts of the country."

Jan Carson, the interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon, described the latest arrests as "unconstitutional" in a joint statement with The Post.

"Usually when we see people in unmarked cars grabbing someone from the street, we call them kidnapping," Carson said. "Portland protesters were shot in the head, swept away in unmarked cars, and repeatedly torn by gas by uninvited and unwelcome federal agents. We will not rest until they leave."

Night protests have dominated Portland city streets since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis in late May. For more than six weeks, Portland police clashed with left-leaning protesters who spoke out against racism and police brutality. Tear gas strangled hundreds of people in the city, as protesters and other residents were caught in the crossfire. The protesters have spray-painted letters sprayed on Federal Court Mark or Hatfield and Multnomah County Center, which works as a local prison and police headquarters.

After Trump sent federal officers to the city, allegedly to quell violence, tensions rose. Federal forces have repeatedly deployed tear gas to quell the protests, despite the newly passed state law that bars local police from using irritating chemicals except to quell riots. On Saturday, federal agents shot a man with less than lethal ammunition, breaking his skull. Local officials, from the mayor to the governor, asked the president to withdraw federal officers from the city.

"I am proud to be among the loud choir of the elected officials who are asking federal forces in Portland streets to return home," Portland City Commissioner Joe Ann Hardiste said in a joint statement with The Post on Sunday. "Their presence here has escalated tensions and put countless Portland residents exercising First Amendment rights at greater risk."

Pettibone says he was simply exercising his right to freedom of expression on Wednesday when he was arrested. He and his friend were walking to a car to drive home after a relatively quiet demonstration in a nearby park. He said he had done nothing to incite the police that night, or in any of the other protests he had attended over the past six weeks.

I have a very strong philosophical conviction that I will not engage in any violent activity. ”“ I keep it well and try to document police brutality and try to show solidarity. ”

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night, nor did it answer questions from public broadcasts in Oregon. The Marshal service told the radio station that its officers had not arrested Pettibone and said the agency had always kept records of her arrests.

Trump welcomed the brutal tactics of Portland officers, and the Acting Homeland Security secretary pledged to keep federal forces in Portland until local leaders "publicly condemn what violent anarchists do."

"We did a great job in Portland," Trump told a news conference on Monday. "Portland was totally out of control, they got inside, and I think we have a lot of people in prison now. We've cracked them down a lot, and if it starts again, we'll crack them down very easily. It's not hard to do, if you know what you're doing."

But the scene on Portland streets late Thursday reflected a different reality.

The protesters again filled the streets in the city center, and the duel movement moved in a united way aimed at removing the crowd from the center of Multnomah County. Once again, federal officers fired tear gas at the protest.

As the police, local and federal, responded to the protesters with increasing force, the protests became more difficult and determined. Neither side appears ready to surrender.

"Once you are on the street and you are hit with tear gas and you see that there is no reason - the police will claim that there is only riots so they can use tear gas - making you want to get out there more and Pettibone told The Post:" To see if There can be any kind of justice. "

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