New footage shows the moment federal agents hit a protester wearing a Navy sweatshirt before spraying tear gas in the man’s face during another night of demonstrations that have been taking place since the death of George Floyd as President Donald Trump claims his administration is just ‘trying to help’.
In the footage, the unidentified protester is seen being struck at least three times with a baton as another officer sprays a substance in his face, prompting him to quickly turn away.
As the man starts to walk away, an officer hits him at least two more times before the protester threw his middle fingers in the air.
The incident was shared on Twitter early Sunday morning just hours before Trump weighed in on the demonstrations.
‘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!’ the president wrote.
During the Saturday night protest, fires were started at the Portland Police Association and in dumpsters in the area, according to Portland police.
New footage shows the moment federal agents hit a protester wearing a Navy sweatshirt before spraying tear gas in the man’s face during another night of demonstrations that have been taking place since the death of George Floyd as President Donald Trump claims his administration is just ‘trying to help’
In the footage, the unidentified protester is seen being struck at least three times with a baton by one officer
Another officer is then seen spraying the man in the face with tear gas (pictured) The incident was shared on Twitter early Sunday morning
As the man starts to walk away, an officer hits him at least two more times before the protester threw his middle fingers in the air
On Sunday morning, Trump weighed in on the demonstrations, saying: ‘We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it’
Trump later tweeted that ‘Radical Left Democrats’ will ‘destroy our Country as we know it’
The police department declared the gathering a riot, and began working to clear the downtown area.
‘As the crowd was dispersed, several people in the crowd were arrested and officers were able to extinguish the fire. Portland Police did not use any CS gas,’ the bureau said in a statement early Sunday. Several arrests were made.
Tear gas was deployed, according to pictures and video from the scene, but it was not necessarily CS gas. Fencing that had been placed around the federal courthouse had also been removed by protesters and made into barricades, police tweeted.
Earlier on Saturday, police said protesters had gathered at the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, vandalizing patrol vehicles and taunting officers who were reporting for work.
Later, as police dispersed a group that had gathered near North Interstate Avenue, people threw rocks and paint-filled balloons at officers. Some were injured, the statement said.
Trump has decried the demonstrations, and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blasted the protesters as ‘lawless anarchists’ in a visit to the city on Thursday.
Before the aggressive language and action from federal officials, the unrest had frustrated Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local authorities, who had said a small cadre of violent activists were drowning out the message of peaceful protesters in the city.
Wheeler said the federal presence in the city is now exacerbating a tense situation and he has told them to depart.
‘Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,’ Wheeler said Friday.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum late Friday sued Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court.
Ongoing protests against police brutality occurred in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday night
Protesters are seen during a demonstration in Portland, Oregon, Saturday night
Tear gas was deployed, according to pictures and video from the scene. Fencing that had been placed around the federal courthouse had also been removed by protesters and made into barricades, police tweeted
A group of mothers participated in a demonstration outside the Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday
The complaint said unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland’s streets ‘without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action’.
Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to ‘immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians’.
The administration has enlisted federal agents, including the US Marshals Special Operations Group and an elite US Customs and Border Protection team based on the US-Mexico border, to protect federal property.
But Oregon Public Broadcasting reported this week that some agents had been driving around in unmarked vans and snatching protesters from streets not near federal property, without identifying themselves.
Tensions also escalated after an officer with the Marshals Service fired a less-lethal round at a protester’s head on July 11, critically injuring him.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Rep Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, issued a joint statement Saturday denouncing the Trump administration’s actions.
‘We live in a democracy, not a banana republic. We will not tolerate the use of Oregonians, Washingtonians – or any other Americans – as props in President Trump’s political games. The House is committed to moving swiftly to curb these egregious abuses of power immediately,’ they said.
Hundreds of people had gathered Friday night for a vigil outside the downtown Justice Center, which is sandwiched between two federal buildings, including a courthouse.
Across the street, dozens of other protesters entered two recently closed city parks after dismantling chain-link fencing that blocked access.
Federal agents emerged from an office building next door and used impact munitions, stun grenades and tear gas to clear the area.
Federal officers deployed tear gas again just before midnight after a few protesters placed dismantled fencing in front of plywood doors covering the entrance of the federal courthouse.
Early Saturday, Portland police declared the gathering unlawful, saying protesters had piled fencing in front of the exits to the federal courthouse and the Multnomah County Justice Center and then shot off fireworks at the Justice Center.
Federal officers and local police then advanced simultaneously on the demonstrators to clear the streets, making arrests as protesters threw bottles and pieces of metal fence at police, the Portland Police Bureau said.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters Friday that his officers are in contact with the federal agents, but that neither controls the others’ actions.
Black Lives Matter protesters are seen during a demonstration on Friday in Portland, Oregon
Several local Oregon politicians have blasted the arrival of federal agents (pictured center), who are not required to follow the same policing restrictions as local authorities and can use methods like tear gas
The US Attorney for the Oregon District Billy Williams on Friday requested that an investigation be launched into the conduct of federal agents in Portland after two residents appeared to be arrested without probable cause
Several Black Lives Matter protesters and residents in Portland have reported seeing masked federal agents, wearing camouflage and without proper identification, arresting demonstrators without explanation and hauling them into the back of unmarked minivans
Pictured: One woman holds a photo of Breonna Taylor, an EMT from Louisville, Kentucky, who was shot dead by plain clothed authorities in March
The overnight action by Portland’s police was condemned by Jo Ann Hardesty, a prominent member of the City Council. Hardesty said Saturday that local police ‘joined in the aggressive clampdown of peaceful protest’.
Hardesty also slammed Wheeler, telling the mayor he needed to better control local law enforcement. Hardesty, who oversees the city’s fire department and other first-responder agencies, said in an open letter to Wheeler if ‘you can’t control the police, give me the Portland Police Bureau’.
Portland police said as they responded to the overnight protests – which included people throwing projectiles at them – some federal agencies took action ‘under their own supervision and direction’. Portland Police said city officers arrested seven people, and one officer sustained a minor injury.
The statement said the city’s police supports peaceful protests, and beginning Saturday night Department of Homeland Security police wouldn’t work in the Portland Police incident command center.
Other footage involving federal agents shows two officers briskly walking toward two protesters on a desolate Portland street.
‘What are you doing? Use your words,’ the camera woman says, as other nearby witnesses question what the agents are doing,
The camera pans to show a protester, dressed in all black and wearing a face mask, with his hands up in the air.
Without any explanation, or even a word, the two federal agents arrest the man and escort him towards the unmarked minivan.
‘Where are you taking him? What is going on?’ witnesses ask the agents. ‘You just violated their rights.’
The agents place the man into the back of the vehicle and drive away.
Footage shared by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and others on social media appeared to show two federal agents, who do not identify themselves or explain their actions, arresting a man this week in Portland
Throughout the recorded exchange, the federal agents never reveal what sparked the arrest or what the unidentified man was being taken into custody for
The two federal agents take the unidentified Black Lives Matter protester to an unmarked, grey minivan and drive away (pictured)
That video was shared by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, who condemned the alleged actions in a tweet and furthered his attack against the Trump administration.
‘Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end,’ wrote Merkley.
A similar incident happened to Portland resident Mark Pettibone, 29, who told CNN that he was ‘kidnapped off the street in my own city for non-violently protesting and showing up in solidarity.’
‘About four people just out of the van that pulled up in front of me, and my first reaction was I tried to get away.’
Pettibone was walking with his friend, Conner O’Shea,’ when a group of protesters warned them about mysterious minivans stocked with federal agents driving around the area, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
‘I see guys in camo,’ said O’Shea. ‘Four or five of them pop out, open the door and it was just like, ‘Oh s***. I don’t know who you are or what you want with us.”
Witnesses have said that agents are also detaining people who are simply near federal property and it’s unclear if the people detained engaged in criminal activity
Both Pettibone and O’Shea believe they were targeted for wearing black cloths, but O’Shea managed to avoid arrest while Pettibine was taken into custody.
‘I am basically tossed into the van,’ said Pettibone. ‘And I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head.’
A perimeter has reportedly been established around Portland’s first autonomous zone, CLAT,’ or Chinook Land Autonomous Territory,’ after the police-free zone was built last Tuesday in Lownsdale Park
Since the beginning of nationwide protests on Memorial Day, Portland has held demonstrations for 50 nights straight as protesters deface federal buildings and demand changes to local law enforcement
During this time, Pettibone said none of the agents identified themselves as federal officers or gave any detail about the arrest.
Pettibone, still blinded by his beanie hat, said agents drove around downtown a bit longer before they escorted him inside the federal courthouse.
‘It was basically a process of facing many walls and corners as they patted me down and took my picture and rummaged through my belongings,’ said Pettibone.
‘One of them said, ‘This is a whole lot of nothing.’
He was later put in a cell, read his Miranda Rights and interviewed by authorities. Pettibone was released 90 minutes later without receiving any paperwork, citation or reason for his arrest.
‘I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time and that apparently is grounds for detaining me,’ said Pettibone.
Pettibone’s incident comes after local officials were outraged over cell phone footage that showed 29-year-old Donovan La Bella, a peaceful protester in Portland this week, being shot in the head with a ‘rubber bullet’ while only armed with a music speaker. La Bella suffered a fractured skull and bled out onto the concrete for some time.
The incidents occurred at the protesters’ autonomous zone called ‘CLAT,’ or Chinook Land Autonomous Territory across the street from the federal justice center.
The Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, confirmed on Twitter that Border Protection agents were in Portland and had conducted arrests
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley shared video unidentified federal agents arrestig a Black Lives Matter protester on Twitter and called the move ‘absolutely unacceptable’
Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of the US Department of Homeland Security defended his decision to deploy federal agents to Portland and claimed his officers had been subject to assaults by ‘violent criminals’
Williams on Friday said that he called for an investigation after circulating reports showed unidentified federal agents arresting two Black Lives Matter protesters without probable cause.
‘Based on news accounts circulating that allege federal law enforcement detained two protesters without probable cause, I have requested the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to open a separate investigation directed specifically at the actions of DHS personnel,’ wrote Williams in the shocking statement.
Trump had previously vowed to ‘dominate’ the protesters with federal agents after he displayed a heavy-handed, militarized approach to quelling protests.
The US Customs and Border Protection confirmed that they were involved in some Portland arrests, but it’s unclear which other agencies may be involved.
‘[Customs and Border Protection] will continue to arrest the violent criminals that are destroying federal property & injuring our agents/officers in Portland. CBP will restore and maintain law & order,’ wrote Mark Morgan, Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection.
DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who visited Portland on Thursday, defended his officers actions. He claimed that his officers had been assaulted with frozen water bottles ‘from violent criminals’.
‘Let’s get this right. “Protesters” imply they were peacefully exercising their 1st amendment rights,’ wrote Wolf.
‘Instead, DHS officers were assaulted with lasers and frozen water bottles from violent criminals attempting to tear down federal property. 2 officers were injured. Facts matter.’
In a 1,700-word statement, Wolf also said troops were sent in to ‘restore order’ from ‘lawless anarchists’ who’ve become ’emboldened the violent mob as it escalates violence day after day.’
‘The city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days. Each night the violent anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it,’ he said.
His rhetoric matches that of Trump, who has unequivocally sided with law enforcement in recent months and has referred to Black Lives Matter protesters as ‘thugs’.
Sen Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also blasted the Trump administration for allowing federal agents to canvas the city without proper identification.
Sen Elizabeth Warren said: ‘I thought we’d already covered this after the attacks in Lafayette Square: the US government should not be using unidentified federal officers as a secret police force to terrorize US citizens & violate their constitutional rights’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also condemned the presence of federal agents in Portland by saying ‘Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped’
Oregon Gov Kate Brown furthered the attacks against DHS and the Trump administration by suggesting their motivations behind deploying federal agents was political, not to enforce public safety
Brown suggested Trump was hypocritical in his criticisms of Portland because of his widely condemned St John church photo-op that caused authorities to use tear gas on peaceful protesters in Washington, DC
‘I thought we’d already covered this after the attacks in Lafayette Square: the US government should not be using unidentified federal officers as a secret police force to terrorize US citizens & violate their constitutional rights. This is outrageous,’ wrote Warren.
Oregon Gov Kate Brown appeared to summarize her cohorts opinions by suggesting both Trump and Wolf are prioritizing politics over public safety.
‘This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety. The President is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government,’ she wrote on Twitter.
‘I told Acting Secretary Wolf that the federal government should remove all federal officers from our streets. His response showed me he is on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.
Brown even suggested Trump was hypocritical and pointed out his notorious St John church photo-op where peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square were cleared out with tear gas and alleged less-lethal munitions.
Pettibone said he plans to speak with the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU, but the latter has already taken legal action against the agency.
On Friday, ACLU announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the DHS over the ‘flat-out unconstitutional’ arrests.
The American Civil Liberties Union revealed that it will sue the US Department of Homeland Security over actions and arrests they deem ‘flat-out unconstitutional’
One person who joined tense protests in Portland on Friday night held a sign reading: ‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable’
One of the largest problems facing law enforcement in Portland is the different policing restrictions placed on local police and federal agents, who are allowed to use tear gas and less-lethal munitions against protesters
Graffiti made by Black Lives Matter protesters on the Portland courthouse building reads ‘Send home Trump’s piglets’ and ‘We Won’t Forget La Bella,’ in reference to the 29-year-old peaceful protester who was shot by federal agents with a ‘rubber bullet’ and suffered skull fractures
A smoke grenade burns in front of federal law enforcement officers, deployed under the Trump administration’s new executive order to protect federal monuments and buildings
Protesters erect fencing in front of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse entrance doors to block federal agents inside, but authorities eventually exited through the next door building and clashed with protesters
‘Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping — what is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the US. These actions are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered,’ the organization wrote.
Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, added: ‘This is a fight to save our democracy.’
ACLU also filed a lawsuit against the US Marshals Service and the Portland Police, who they’ve accused of unfairly targeting journalists and legal observers amid ongoing protests.
If won, federal agents would be held to far more restrictions than they do now. Authorities would be barred from arresting, threatening to arrest or using physical force against journalists or legal observers unless it’s ‘reasonably known’ the individual committed a crime, according to the Oregon Public Broadcasting.
One of the largest problems currently facing law enforcement in Portland in a lack of uniform restrictions and rules from local police to federal agents.
Portland Police Bureau officers and local authorities have been barred from using crowd control munitions against non-violent protesters – but not federal agents.
Federal agents have also repeatedly used tear gas, which has been temporarily banned from the Portland Police Bureau by federal court order unless they declare a riot.
Portland Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said federal agents don’t coordinate with his agency and that ‘it does complicate things for us’.