DHS enters Portland to defend federal buildings and people
Last updated 7/23/2020 at 9:12am
Do violent riots and mobs even shock us anymore?
The cost is $400 million in the 20 largest metropolitan areas according to an estimate from the Anderson Economic Group. According to published reports, thousands of innocent business owners across the country have been illegally stripped of their livelihood and/or beat within an inch of their life.
Cities across the country are being ravaged by rioters and looters who are criminals and terrorists by definition. (The definition of terrorism from Brittanica.com is the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.)
They may have a social justice message, but it’s lost in the violence that hurts the very people they claim to support.
And the mainstream media is complicit, most not offering a complete picture of the violence that is happening.
Portland, Oregon, is the latest city in the spotlight.
Portland has been experiencing violence for about 53 days as of the writing of this piece. According to numerous news reports, rioters began vandalizing businesses and buildings in Portland May 29. As with Seattle, the mayor did little to protect the city. The first target was the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse where rioters caused $5,000 worth of damage according to the Department of Homeland Security.
According to numerous published reports, both Seattle and Portland openly rejected the offer of federal reinforcements to bring order and safety to their cities. Meanwhile in nearby Boise, Idaho, a large group of protestors left the city peacefully after some 3,000 citizens arrived on the scene hoping to protect their city.
In Kansas City, Missouri, the mayor and governor asked for assistance after a 40% increase in crime. A release from the Justice Department Wednesday evening described the new program as "a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative across all federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight the sudden surge of violent crime" that would start in Kansas City.
Back in Portland, over the next 50-plus days, vandals and demonstrators, many apparently identifying with the Black Lives Matter movement, defaced several other buildings including the Hatfield Courthouse and the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building and the police station. There was an estimated $25 million in damages, according to numerous Associated Press reports.
According to DHS, the rioters came back night after night breaching, destroying and removing fences around federal properties, breaking windows at the courthouse and other buildings and removing wood from windows of the federal buildings.
“Rioters launched watch rockets injuring an officer -Rioters barricaded officers inside Hatfield Courthouse then launched commercial grade explosive fireworks at the building, attempting to injure or kill officers,” a tweet from an unidentified DHS representative said.
Rioters also set fires at the federal courthouse and in Chapman Park. Threats to burn down buildings were reported, several rioters were reportedly carrying rifles and one person tried to strike a Portland police officer with his car, according to published reports.
There were commercial-grade lasers used to try and cause eye damage to police officers as well as officers being targeted with fireworks, hammers, canned food and one person was arrested with a pipe bomb, according to DHS.
Rioters injured two police officers July 5 and then, on what is being called a “Night of Rage” according to DHS, a mob of about 500 rioters assaulted law enforcement officers July 7. That night an estimated 200 participants pursued officers and assaulted them with rocks and bottles. About 200 rioters attacked DHS law enforcement officers July 8, injuring three, the agency said. Authorities reported one arrest.
The next night, records show police arrested five on charges of assaulting officers. A mob of about 200 gathered in Chapman Park across from the Hatfield Courthouse July 12, some armed with sledgehammers, tasers and stun guns. DHS said participants “launched fireworks, threw fecal matter and large objects, and pointed lasers at federal law enforcement officers attempting to permanently blind them.”
This activity continued the next night, with slingshots and flaming debris added to the mix, authorities said. Fireworks and spray-painting followed on subsequent nights.
After 50 days of this escalation, President Trump sent in DHS to defend federal buildings and employees, a move which falls under DHS’s required responsibilities.
Unlike the mayor of Seattle who decided to go in and clean up the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest area just before federal law enforcement arrived, the mayor of Portland decried DHS law enforcement coming in to protect federal buildings and personnel, yet did not handle the situation himself.
President Trump has been openly critical of the Democratic led cities like Seattle, Portland, Chicago and New York where the mobs have done hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Crime rates have gone up as much as 300% in Chicago and New York City.
The Portland police union building was set on fire Saturday night, yet the next day at a news conference, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city.” He warned others saying, “This could happen in your city.”
The mayor said that the president has a “complete misunderstanding” and that despite almost two months of violence in Portland that it’s the DHS “escalating the violence.”
There has been controversy over several arrests of people suspected of assault and other crimes when those people were allegedly pulled into vans to make the arrests and be questioned.
Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said Trump is looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere and to serve as a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing spiking numbers of infections in Oregon and the nation.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has also complained about Trump’s “occupying army.”
Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf said in a public statement Thursday, July 16, available online at https://www.dhs.gov/news-releases/press-releases.
“A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice -- to attack it is to attack America,” Wolf said. “Instead of addressing violent criminals in their communities, local and state leaders are instead focusing on placing blame on law enforcement and requesting fewer officers in their community.”
Wheeler did not meet with Wolf, who has been critical of local and state leaders in Portland, in person. But, according to a tweet from Wheeler, he had spoken to Wolf by phone earlier in the week, telling Wolf that he wanted federal officers out of the city, but then asked DHS to clean up the graffiti on local federal facilities.
Wolf said July 16, the failed response by leadership “has only emboldened the violent mob as it escalates violence day after day. This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service’s mission statement clearly states the division’s responsibility is to “prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorism, criminal acts, and other hazards threatening the U.S. Government’s critical infrastructure, services, and the people who provide or receive them.
“DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them,” Wolf said.
Regardless of people’s complaints against them, DHS is simply doing what they are paid to do.