USMS: We Sent a Plane Over Portland to Surveil Protesters

Meanwhile, violent clashes between protesters and federal officers in the Oregon city start up again
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2020 10:20 AM CDT
Portland Protesters Clash With Feds for First Time in Weeks
In this file photo from last month, federal officers deploy tear gas and crowd control munitions at demonstrators during a protest in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Thursday night marked the 84th night of protests in Portland, with clashes between protesters and federal agents once more emerging after weeks of nonviolence. The Oregonian reports that police declared the demonstration in the Oregon city a riot around 11pm local time, with a couple hundred protesters initially gathering around the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in South Portland, some tagging it with graffiti and trying to break windows. Both federal agents and Portland police, which declared the protest an "unlawful assembly," were on the scene trying to push demonstrators away from the building and back toward a local park, but by midnight they broke out the tear gas and stun grenades; it's not clear which law enforcement agency used these munitions. Two people were arrested.

Meanwhile, per the Willamette Week, the US Marshals Service acknowledged on Wednesday it had deployed a single-engine Cessna Caravan to fly over Portland for about 90 minutes on June 13 to take pictures of the crowds gathered around both the Multnomah County Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse. "On June 13, 2020, USMS management approved deployment of an air asset to assist the ongoing law enforcement challenges on the ground," wrote USMS spokesman William Delaney in his letter to US Sen. Ron Wyden. "The aircraft is equipped with an imaging system (aviation electro-optical and infrared camera) that gave better situational awareness to the small number of deputies who were defending the federal courthouse during a time of great uncertainty." (More Portland, Oregon stories.)

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