WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON
IN PORTLAND, OREGON?
“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14,” reports Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”
The report continues: “The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to ‘quell’ nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.”
Of course, authorities — and we’ll get to the matter of what authorities in a bit — have the power to prevent violence. But that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening in Portland, where nightly protests have been taking place since early June. Law enforcement agents aren’t targeting protesters who engaged in violence; they appear to be sweeping up random people who have exercised their rights under the First Amendment.
Like Mark Pettibone, 29, who was heading home in the early hours of Wednesday morning when, according to The Post’s Katie Shepherd, “several men in green military fatigues and generic ‘police’ patches sprang out of an unmarked gray minivan.” Pettibone was detained, searched, driven to the federal courthouse, placed in a holding cell and read his Miranda rights against self-incrimination. He declined to waive them. And then, about 90 minutes later, he was released.