Unidentified federal agents are detaining protesters in Portland. Are you OK with that? | The Tylt

Unidentified federal agents are detaining protesters in Portland. Are you OK with that?

Federal law enforcement in militarized equipment, without badges showing their affiliation or name plates, have been arresting protesters on the streets of Portland, throwing them into unmarked cars—often without identifying themselves first as law enforcement. These federal officers are enforcing a new initiative from the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security—they are part of an operation that Trump says is to quell an upsurge of violence in American cities. This presents many problems. 

First, if this were to happen in any other country, the unidentified officers could be described as "secret police" or "paramilitary forces." The fact that these federal officers are snatching people off the streets, driving them around in unmarked vehicles, then letting them go without arrest papers or documentation could be described as "forced disappearance." This is a terrifying development in the United States. Even martial law as enforced by the U.S. military like Tom Cotton called for would be a more measured response—there's precedent for it, and the military is far more accountable than anonymous federal agents. 

Then, there have been at least three separate incidents where people have donned military uniforms and joined law enforcement lines. The problem is self evident—in a world where extremists are dressing up as law enforcement and military to attack protesters and seed chaos, it is extremely problematic to send in official law enforcement who are unidentifiable to the general public. It is within the realm of possibility that the group of men in military gear who are running out of an unmarked van to snatch people off the streets may be a domestic terrorist. Or they could just be the police. That is the situation that we face when federal law enforcement goes out unmarked to police protests. 

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Unidentified federal agents are detaining protesters in Portland. Are you OK with that?
A festive crown for the winner
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#EnforceLawAndOrder
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Unidentified federal agents are detaining protesters in Portland. Are you OK with that?
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#EnforceLawAndOrder
#FedsOutOfOurCities

These are the facts of the situation. Federal law enforcement wearing military gear, with no agency identification or personal identification are detaining and grabbing people off the streets. There is no way to hold them accountable. They are not creating arrest records.

In addition to snatching people off the streets, federal law enforcement shot one protester in the face with a so-called "less lethal" munition, leaving him hospitalized with skull fractures. Again, these agents are not accountable to any local authorities and it is unclear which federal agency they belong to.

This is all happening in the United States, a country where ostensibly citizens have the right to free speech and assembly. What we are seeing is the criminalization of protest. These acts are intended to intimidate and chill the freedom of speech and assembly. This is a true attack of freedom of speech. Here's how Oregon Public Broadcasting describes the experience of one man who was snatched by federal agents:

Blinded by his hat, in an unmarked minivan full of armed people dressed in camouflage and body armor who hadn’t identified themselves, Pettibone said he was driven around downtown before being unloaded inside a building. He wouldn’t learn until after his release that he had been inside the federal courthouse.
“It was basically a process of facing many walls and corners as they patted me down and took my picture and rummaged through my belongings,” Pettibone said. “One of them said, ‘This is a whole lot of nothing.’”
Pettibone said he was put into a cell. Soon after, two officers came in to read him his Miranda rights. They didn’t tell him why he was being arrested. He said they asked him if he wanted to waive his rights and answer some questions, but Pettibone declined and said he wanted a lawyer. The interview was terminated, and about 90 minutes later he was released. He said he did not receive any paperwork, citation or record of his arrest.
“I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time,” Pettibone said. “And that apparently is grounds for detaining me.”
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#EnforceLawAndOrder

Here's how acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf defended and justified the federal operations in Portland:

The city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city. Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.
A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice - to attack it is to attack America. Instead of addressing violent criminals in their communities, local and state leaders are instead focusing on placing blame on law enforcement and requesting fewer officers in their community. This failed response has only emboldened the violent mob as it escalates violence day after day.
This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law. DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them. Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists."
#EnforceLawAndOrder
#EnforceLawAndOrder
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Unidentified federal agents are detaining protesters in Portland. Are you OK with that?
A festive crown for the winner
#FedsOutOfOurCities
#EnforceLawAndOrder