Did Feds Overstep in Portland? A Watchdog Will Take a Look

Inspector general of the Justice Department announces investigation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2020 3:03 PM CDT
Watchdog Will Examine Role of Federal Officers in Portland
Protesters walk through chemical irritants dispersed by federal agents at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Thursday in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The mayor got tear-gassed. Protesters described being manhandled and whisked away by camo-clad men in vans. Now a government watchdog is going to investigate whether the actions of federal officers during Portland's protests have gone too far, reports the Washington Post. Coverage:

  • Michael Horowitz, inspector general of the Justice Department, announced the investigation on Thursday. The inspector general operates independently of Attorney General William Barr. The probe will be coordinated with the IG of the Department of Homeland Security, reports USA Today.
  • The primary focus will be the officers' use of force in Portland, per Law & Crime, but the investigation will look at other incidents as well, including the clearing of protesters near the White House on June 1 to make way for a photo op by President Trump.

  • Horowitz says his Portland investigation will cover the instructions given to the federal officers, whether they followed rules on identifying themselves, and the use of chemical agents to subdue protesters, reports CNN.
  • House Democrats demanded such a probe over the weekend as complaints surfaced in Portland, notes Axios.
  • Trump has defended the deployment of federal officers as necessary to maintain law and order, and he plans to expand their presence around the country, including in Chicago.
  • The Oregonian has a detailed look at how Mayor Ted Wheeler ended up getting tear-gassed. “The reason I am here tonight is to stand with you,” Wheeler told the crowd at one point. “If they’re launching the tear gas against you, they’re launching the tear gas against me.”
(More Portland, Oregon stories.)

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