Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed it made an arrest in Portland captured on video, which was later widely circulated.
Agents in the agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, “had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property,” CBP said in a statement late Friday.
Once agents approached the suspect, “a large and violent mob” moved toward them.
“For everyone’s safety, CBP agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location for further questioning. The CBP agents identified themselves and were wearing CBP insignia during the encounter,” the agency stated.
Because of recent doxing incidents, or people disclosing personal information like addresses, the names of agents were not displayed.
Video footage showed two officers walking in Portland on July 14 and detaining a person dressed in black.
The officers took the person and guided them into a minivan that was not marked. After the trio entered, another officer drove the vehicle away.
One person can be heard saying during the arrest: “What are you doing? Use your words.” As the situation unfolded, she added, “NLG will get you out.”
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) has promised to bail out anyone involved in protests.
After the footage went viral, a number of Democratic lawmakers and media outlets claimed the officers were not wearing any identification. The officers both wore CBP markings and patches that said “Police.”
“Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti. These are not the actions of a democratic republic,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), called on the inspector generals of the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to investigate the actions of federal forces in Portland, citing the arrest seen in the video.
“These agents are snatching people off the street with no underlying justification,” Merkley said in a statement.
“The jarring reports of federal law enforcement officers grabbing peaceful protesters off the street should alarm every single American. This is not the way a government operates in a functioning democracy,” added Blumenauer.
Violent demonstrations have taken place in Portland on a nightly basis since late May, according to police officials, reports, video footage, and photographs. The groups, which include members of the far-left Antifa, repeatedly cause damage to the Justice Center, which houses a police precinct, and the nearby Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, a federal building.
At least nine people were arrested in recent days for charges including destroying federal property and assaulting federal officers. One man was shown on video hitting a federal officer with a 4-pound construction hammer while others allegedly used high-intensity lasers in attempts to blind officers.
Video footage from Friday night showed the group putting fencing in front of an exit at the courthouse and an exit at the Justice Center. The group also shot commercial grade fireworks and smoke bombs, the Portland Police Bureau. Several people were arrested.
Violent demonstrators caused $23 million in damage and lost customers to businesses downtown as of July 8, Portland Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said during a briefing.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a briefing Friday that officers are in contact with federal agents.
“We do communicate with federal officers for the purpose of situational awareness and deconfliction,” Lovell said. “We’re operating in a very, very close proximity to one another.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit on July 17 seeking an order enjoining federal agents from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force directed against any person whom they know or reasonably should know is a journalist or legal observer. A number of reporters and legal observers in the region have ties to Antifa.
The union previously filed a suit seeking to force federal agents to stop using crowd control measures like tear gas.
A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) task force for the protection of monuments and federal facilities was created in response to the activities in Portland and elsewhere, with rioters trying to topple statues and breach federal buildings.
The Protecting American Communities Task Force is meant to coordinate assets inside the department, Acting Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf said.
“We won’t stand idly by while violent anarchists and rioters seek not only to vandalize and destroy the symbols of our nation, but to disrupt law and order and sow chaos in our communities,” he said in a statement.
Rapid deployment teams were pre-positioned across the country ahead of July 4.
A separate task force created to stop “violent anti-government extremists of all persuasions” was formed last month at Attorney General William Barr’s direction.
“Some pretend to profess a message of freedom and progress, but they are in fact forces of anarchy, destruction, and coercion,” Barr wrote in a memo.
Wolf traveled to Portland on July 16 to meet with federal officers and tour the damage to the courthouse there.
Wolf called the people gathering on a nightly basis “lawless anarchists” and praised the law enforcement officers seeking to protect the building.
The siege could end if state and local officials decide to quell the demonstrations, Wolf asserted, adding that he will not order the withdrawal of federal troops.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat who is also the city’s police commissioner, refused to meet with Wolf. He and a number of local and state officials want federal troops to leave the city, blaming them for the violence.
From The Epoch Times