After unleashing federal troops on Portland protesters despite the disdain of city and state leadership, President Donald Trump is making threats to send “more federal law enforcement” to Portland and other cities with Democratic leadership. Trump said during a White House briefing Monday that "the police are afraid to do anything" in cities the White House described as “being terrorized by crime under governors and mayors that refuse to take action.”
Trump listed New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, and Oakland by name, which attracted the attention of Detroit resident and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib. “They'll have to arrest me first if they think they're going to illegally lay their hands on my residents,” she tweeted.
Amid ongoing protests after the death of George Floyd, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit Friday accusing federal officials of failing to identify themselves while detaining protesters in downtown Portland, according to The Washington Post. In the lawsuit, Rosenblum accused federal law enforcement officers dubbed John Does 1-10 of having used “unmarked vehicles” to “detain protesters” without “either arresting them or stating the basis for an arrest” since at least Tuesday. Viral video showed a U.S. Navy veteran beaten and subjected to tear gas along with mothers who formed a line to protect protesters from federal troops.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told CNN Sunday that the presence of federal troops "is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism." “And it's not helping the situation at all,” Wheeler said. “They're not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave."
That request, however, hasn’t stopped the president from fanning the flames of public outrage while also conveniently laying increasing crime rates at the feet of Democratic leaders. "New York was up 348% the crime rate. So the governor has to do something about it. And if the governor's not going to do something about it, we'll do something about it," Trump said Monday.
Doing something about increases in crime and seemingly uncapped police brutality is exactly what activists calling for smaller police budgets are asking for in their push to defund police and reallocate funding to education and social services.
When a reporter followed up on Trump’s complaint that police are restricted from doing anything in response to crime, a reporter asked him what he’s going to do—a question that somehow seemed to catch the president off guard. “Well, I’m going to do something. That I can tell you,” he responded.
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