Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty are asking to meet with leadership within the Department of Homeland Security seeking an end to the federal deployment in Portland.
In a news release Monday afternoon, the two city leaders asked for an immediate meeting with leaders of the Department of Homeland Security. They want what they described as a “cease-fire and removal of heightened federal forces from Portland.”
President Donald Trump deployed federal officers to Portland in early July to protect federal property — including the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Since then, federal officers have routinely used tear gas and impact munitions against protesters who gather each night at the courthouse, most recently at a fence erected around it by the federal government. Some demonstrators have set small fires around the courthouse and shot fireworks and other projectiles at the building.
OPB reported Sunday that several dozen additional out-of-town federal officers would be deploying to Portland, even as officials acknowledged internally that the federal presence has reinvigorated protests and caused the crowd size to swell.
City and state leaders have repeatedly called on federal officials to remove their officers, saying they have escalated tensions downtown. Earlier today, Wheeler added his name to a letter urging Congress to craft legislation that would restrict the deployment of federal officers into the city and demanded the federal officers be removed.
“These federal agents are not trained in modern community policing, crowd control, or de-escalation strategies,” read the letter, which was also signed by mayors of Chicago, Seattle, Washington D.C., Albuquerque and Kansas City.
“They do not know the communities in which they are operating, and they are not welcome there.”
Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf has refused to remove the federal officers, insisting the force has the right to defend the federal property. He and President Trump have repeatedly criticized city leaders’ response to the racial justice protests.
The mayor’s office has planned a press conference Tuesday morning to discuss the protests.