The FBI said Wednesday the agency is bringing in more resources to investigate violence and other criminal activity that its leaders say happen in Portland each night during protests.

The agency is assigning more agents within the Portland field office as well as bringing in more agents from around the country to help investigate crimes it said are occurring at times during racial justice protests across the city.

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“The FBI is going to take a larger role in these nightly acts of violence,” said Renn Cannon, the special agent in charge of the FBI Portland field office.

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Cannon said he’s referring to cases of small fires being set inside public buildings and other instances where federal charges could be relevant. The investigations, he said, could be referred to federal prosecutors for possible charges.

“We’re expanding that investigative footprint because, after 90 days, the cumulative effects are becoming more and more severe,” Cannon said. “It’s straining the city. It’s straining the county. It’s straining the state.”

As its investigations expand, Cannon said, the FBI is mindful of protesters’ First Amendment rights.

This story will be updated.

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