Top House Democrats wrote a letter to the inspectors general of the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security last weekend decrying the use of federal forces during the protests and calling for an investigation.
The letter, signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, condemned “the use of federal law enforcement agencies by the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security to suppress First Amendment protected activities in Washington, D.C., Portland, and other communities across the United States,” according to the Associated Press.
The Democrats called for an investigation into the use of federal forces, calling it “a matter of utmost urgency.” (RELATED: ‘We All Should Be Patriotic’: Veteran Hangs American Flags At Portland Courthouse)
Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti.
These are not the actions of a democratic republic.@DHSgov’s actions in Portland undermine its mission.
Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Other Democratic leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have also condemned the decision to send federal forces in to help local law enforcement deal with protests, which have been ongoing since the May 25 death of George Floyd. Many protests began peacefully but erupted into violent riots across the country.
Democratic Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said that the federal officers are worsening tensions in his city, where demonstrations have been ongoing for over six weeks. Police officially declared a riot Saturday when protesters set the Portland Police Association and multiple dumpsters on fire, Politico reported.
“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” the mayor said Friday according to the Politico report.
“We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it,” President Donald Trump said Sunday on Twitter.
We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2020
“Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators,” the president tweeted. “They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!”