ACLU Statement in Response to Report that DHS Agents Deployed to Portland Protests were Unauthorized

November 3, 2020 4:00 pm

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PORTLAND, Ore. — A report released Monday evening by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General revealed DHS officers deployed to Portland this summer did not have the authority to act as law enforcement officers. The DHS officers were deployed under a statutory provision relating to federal property protection and included agents from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), and others.

The Inspector General report found that many of the DHS officers who engaged in unconstitutional and violent attacks on protesters, press, legal observers, and bystanders were not properly authorized to be deployed for property protection to begin with. The Inspector General also found that some of these improperly-deployed federal agents had not even complied with DHS’s own process for designation as officers to protect property and that some of these agents used force on community members.

Below is comment from:

Kathleen Ruane, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU: “No statute could ever authorize any law enforcement officer to deploy weapons indiscriminately against people exercising their constitutionally protected rights, but this report demonstrates DHS did not even comply with basic statutory requirements.”

Kelly Simon, interim legal director for the ACLU of Oregon: “This is further proof of federal government lawlessness in Portland, plain and simple. We’ve filed four lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security for its brutality and destruction during these protests, and are determined to hold officials accountable for their unconstitutional and unlawful conduct. Violent policing must end, and we will be in the streets and courts until it does.”

This report can be viewed and downloaded here.

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