CBP Chief Condemns Violence, ‘Criminal Destruction’ in Portland Riots Over Fourth of July Weekend

CBP Chief Condemns Violence, ‘Criminal Destruction’ in Portland Riots Over Fourth of July Weekend
Mark A. Morgan, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, testifies during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing titled "CBP Oversight: Examining the Evolving Challenges Facing the Agency", in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, on June 25, 2020. (Tom Williams/AFP via Getty Images)

Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan on Sunday condemned the violence in Portland, Oregon, over the Fourth of July weekend after border patrol agents were called in to assist police officers during protests-turned-riots in the city.

Portland police officers first declared late on July 4 that a protest near the Justice Center had become a riot on the 38th consecutive day of civil unrest in Oregon’s largest city.

Officers used crowd-control munitions, including a type of tear gas, in an attempt to disperse the crowd, as rioters burned American flags and set off fireworks.

“Where are the local political leaders?” Morgan asked, during an appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday. “What we saw in Portland last night was criminal and we stood strong with our federal partners to resist that.”

His remarks followed the news that officers arrested or detained at least 21 people early Sunday in the city after they threw fireworks and mortars, injuring several officers. Portland Police said in a news release that rioters broke windows at a federal courthouse and nearby businesses around 11 p.m. in a protest that lasted until 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

The 13 people arrested by Portland police ranged in age from 23-35 and were booked on suspicion of charges including rioting, disorderly conduct, and attempted assault on an officer, police said in the release. One man faces charges of pointing a laser at an officer.

Eight more people were detained by officers with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Services. Those people are facing possible charges of damage to government property, assault on officers, and interfering with officers, the agency said.

One of the men arrested by the federal agents had a machete and a metal pipe, the agency said. Others threw bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks, and paint-filled balloons at officers outside the federal courthouse in Portland.

Video footage from the area showed demonstrators repeatedly clashing with police.

“These are not protesters, these are criminals who got together and organized and planned and actually brought weapons, they brought shields, they brought frozen water bottles, rocks, lasers, weapons with the intent to destroy a federal building and harm law enforcement officers,” Morgan said on Sunday.

Morgan added that several USBP agents and law enforcement officers were “assaulted” by “these violent criminals” with beer bottles, frozen eggs, rocks, bottle rockets and commercial grade fireworks.

“This person wasn’t there to protest,” Morgan said of an individual who was found in possession of a pipe bomb, fused explosive device, machete, and knife when searched by USBP agents. “They were there to cause destruction & incite violence.”

“Regardless of your political affiliation or ideological beliefs, there’s no justification for violence & criminal destruction of our historic monuments, statutes, or federal property,” he added on Twitter. “We should all unite behind the concept that law & order is a corner stone of American society.”

Morgan emphasized in his Sunday interview the distinction between peaceful protesters rallying against police brutality following the in-custody death of Black American George Floyd on May 25 and those who are inciting violence nationwide amid the unrest.

“We are doing a disservice to peaceful, lawful protesters when we call these individuals protesters,” he said. “They’re not. They’re criminal thugs with an agenda.”

“We’re going to escalate to the use of force that’s needed to repel these criminals and apprehend them and prosecute them,” Morgan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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