US Marshal refuses to remove ‘deputized’ status of Portland officers, despite demands from mayor

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PORTLAND, OR– In a disgraceful and demeaning turn of events, Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler, announced he is withdrawing his consent for the deputization of the most recent group of police officers. 

On Tuesday, September 29th, Wheeler, who is also Portland’s police commissioner, spoke during a community meeting about the Portland Police budget, which was slashed by $15 million dollars in July, leaving it at $211.4 million. 

This past weekend, Portland geared up for a weekend of unprecedented violence, as the rival groups, The Proud Boys, and Antifa and Black Lives Matter both came to town to voice their opinions.

In anticipation, Portland deputized 56 Portland officers, and 22 Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in order to handle what they thought was coming their way.

Thankfully, the two groups did not go toe to toe, and there was very little violence reported at The Proud Boys event.  

The deputization of the officers means that they would have the authorization to arrest someone for a federal crime, and turn the case over to a federal prosecutor instead of a state or county prosecutor. 

According to KOIN, on Friday, September 25th, Governor Kate Brown appointed the heads of Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office as joint incident commanders of protests in Portland for the 48-hour period. Brown ended the joint incident command on Sunday after the rally. 

Now that the threat of imminent violence has passed, in a true act of cowardice, Mayor Ted Wheeler is trying to revoke the deputization of the officers. 

Wheeler said:

“This afternoon, I formally requested that the U.S. Attorney withdraw that designation and I’ve also withdrawn the city’s consent for the deputization,” 

Citing a “misunderstanding”, Wheeler continued: 

“In conversations with the state police and other affiliated law enforcement agencies that were involved in this weekend’s activities, everyone was under the assumption –– or at least the state police or leadership at PPB was under the assumption ––the deputization was only for the duration of the declared emergency as declared by the governor,” 

Wheeler also shared the following statement on the subject with KOIN 6 News:

“Portland is fortunate the Governor and the Multnomah County Sheriff helped protect public safety this weekend, including by federally deputizing some Portland Police officers. Now that Governor Brown’s executive order has expired, I’ve asked the U.S. Attorney’s office to withdraw the designation. 

“A key feature of the designation is that anyone who assaults a federally deputized official could be subject to federal charges. Fortunately, I am confident the Multnomah County District Attorney will continue to prosecute anyone who assaults or otherwise harms police officers or others.

I take assaults against our officers seriously and so does the district attorney. We need to end the violence. Anyone engaging in illegal violent behavior, regardless of their beliefs or position, must be held accountable.”

Honestly, I think that the only thing that can be said right now is, are you kidding me?!?

Portland has seen day after day, and night after night of extreme violence and destruction for over 100 days, with no end it sight.
 
Mayor Wheeler used these officers like pawns, and then decided to pull a “thanks anyway!” move, and that is expected to be acceptable. Well, it’s not. 
Early this morning in a statement, the U.S. Marshals Service said it: “has not received a request to terminate the deputization of any officers sworn in the previous weekend.  I don’t have anything else to comment on at this time.”

However, new details have come to light, and thankfully, the U.S Marshal’s Service is not going to play Wheelers games any longer, as they have just announced that they will not cancel the cross-deputation of local and state law enforcement officers in Oregon. 

Both U.S. Marshal of Oregon, and U.S. Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams, said in a joint statement this afternoon:

“Law enforcement and law-abiding citizens of Portland have endured months of nightly criminal violence and destruction, 

“Officers have been repeatedly assaulted with bottles, bats, sledgehammers, lasers, rocks, and other weapons of convenience.  In addition, the public has seen repeated efforts by criminals to burn down public buildings.”

The statement continued:

“Portlanders, and Oregonians in general are sick of the boarded-up and dangerous conditions prevalent in downtown Portland due to a lack of leadership.

“We call upon citizens of this city and state to denounce violence, demand accountability, and work together to end the violence.”

I think we can all agree that the words “finally” come to mind.

Finally, someone is standing up and denouncing the violence, finally, someone is taking a stand against the violence, and finally, someone is speaking the truth about the fact that the Portland residents are absolutely fed up with the chaos ravaging their streets. 

We can only hope that moving forward, more and more people step forward and try to put an end to the mass destruction taking place, however, I do not think Mayor Wheeler will be among the first to step forward. 

In the meantime, Portland Police Sergeant was assaulted and at least five officers were sprayed with a chemical irritant by violent protesters during an unlawful assembly on September 28th.

According to reports, authorities responded to an un-permitted march where they observed activists equipped with shields, body armor, and helmets. The Portland Police Bureau said in a statement:

“The posture of the gathering suggested that it would become violent, as many such gatherings have been over the past 120-days.”

In order to lessen the likelihood of protesters using the shields to protect those intent on committing crimes, officers seized numerous shields. While they were performing their duties, some protesters in the crowd interfered and were arrested.

Authorities also warned protesters to refrain from blocking traffic and informed them that the sidewalk in front of the Portland Police Bureau is to remain closed.

However, protesters still attempted to block streets, thus prompting officers to take action, which of course was met with violent resistance.

According to authorities, officers disengaged from the park, but as they walked away individuals in the crowd began throwing water bottles at them. The officers did not take action and continued to disengage.

Police said that the group was advised via loudspeaker that they were welcome to demonstrate in the park, but that there was no permit for a march in the streets. Police said:

“People threw rocks and other hard objects at them. A sergeant was punched in the face and was transported to the hospital for treatment. Five other officers were sprayed with some kind of chemical.”

The sergeant that was assaulted was punched in the face and was taken to the hospital. 

Police reported that some of the individuals arrested were wearing heavy body armor with rifle plating, were marked with “press” insignia and carrying a “pass” pass, and possessed weapons such as knives and pepper spray.

Two dozen people were arrested, including Chris Khatami, 30, who faces charges of interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct in the second degree as well as Aaron LaPointe-Aichison, 33, who faces charges of interfering with a peace officer, disorderly conduct in the second degree, and two counts of escaping in the third degree.

In addition to those arrested, two individuals were criminally cited and one was referred to juvenile court. Police reported that a silver Subaru sedan, marked with a red cross, signaling it was being used as an “amateur” medic transport, was spotted driving dangerously in the area.

Officers conducted a vehicle stop and found a loaded handgun inside. The driver was cited for driving uninsured and without a seat belt and failing to signal a turn. The investigation into the firearm is ongoing.  Police reiterated that Portland has seen 120 plus nights of violent protests:

“Individuals operating within large scale demonstrations have burglarized the building, set arson fires, cut the power to the building, broke windows, and caused other destruction. Several of those incidents devolved into riots where officers were forced to deploy tear gas and other munitions to move the violent and destructive crowd away.”

Those who were arrested were booked into the Multnomah County Jail on various charges including interfering with a peace officer, disorderly conduct, escape, menacing, and harassment. 

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