Federal Agents Using Gestapo Tactics in Pulling Americans Off the Streets in Portland, Oregon

by on July 17, 2020 · 15 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights

Federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security have stormed Portland’s streets as part of President Trump’s promised strong response to ongoing protests. These officers drive around in unmarked vehicles, storm out in camouflage uniforms, with no name-tags and a generic “police” patch, grab American citizens right off the streets, cover their heads without explanation – clearly gestapo tactics.

It’s becoming so out of control in Portland that local political leaders have called for the federal agents to leave town. Those calls intensified since agents severely wounded a peaceful protester on Saturday, July 11. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon tweeted on Thursday, July 16, criticizing Trump and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

“A peaceful protester in Portland was shot in the head by one of Donald Trump’s secret police. Now Trump and (acting DHS Secretary) Chad Wolf are weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence on the streets of my hometown because they think it plays well with right-wing media.”

Videos shared online show officers driving up to people, detaining individuals without explanation, then driving off, Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported. Mark Pettibone, 29, told the Washington Post and OPB that he was among those protesters grabbed off the streets of Portland. Pettibone said he was heading home from a protest with a friend early Wednesday morning when several men in green military fatigues jumped out of an unmarked gray van. “I was terrified,” Pettibone told the Post. “It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon.”

He did not know whether the men were police or far-right extremists, who frequently don militarylike outfits and harass left-leaning protesters in Portland, Ore. The 29-year-old resident said he made it about a half-block before he realized there would be no escape.
Then, he sank to his knees, hands in the air. …

Pettibone said he still does not know who arrested him or whether what happened to him legally qualifies as an arrest. The federal officers who snatched him off the street as he was walking home from a peaceful protest did not tell him why he had been detained or provide him any record of an arrest, he told The Post. As far as he knows, he has not been charged with any crimes.

He was detained and searched. One man asked him if he had any weapons; he did not. They drove him to the federal courthouse and placed him in a holding cell. Two officers eventually returned to read his Miranda rights and ask if he would waive those rights to answer a few questions; he did not. And almost as suddenly as they had grabbed him off the street, the men let him go.

This detention and others shown on videos have raised huge alarms for civil and legal scholars and activists and questions whether these arrests are constitutional. From Washington Post:

“Arrests require probable cause that a federal crime had been committed, that is, specific information indicating that the person likely committed a federal offense, or a fair probability that the person committed a federal offense,” Orin Kerr, a professor at University of California at Berkeley Law School, told The Post. “If the agents are grabbing people because they may have been involved in protests, that’s not probable cause.”

Civil rights advocates suggested the Trump administration is testing the limits of its executive power. “I think Portland is a test case,” Zakir Khan, a spokesman for the Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Post. “They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country.”

Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, called the recent arrests “flat-out unconstitutional” in a statement shared with The Post. “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping,” Carson said. “Protesters in Portland have been shot in the head, swept away in unmarked cars, and repeatedly tear-gassed by uninvited and unwelcome federal agents. We won’t rest until they are gone.”

Nightly protests have seized Portland’s downtown streets since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in late May. For more than six weeks, Portland police have clashed with left-leaning protesters speaking out against racism and police brutality. Tear gas has choked hundreds in the city, both protesters and other residents caught in the crossfire. Protesters have spray-painted anti-police messages on the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center, which serves as the local jail and a police headquarters.

After Trump sent federal officers to the city, allegedly to quell violence, tensions escalated. The feds have repeatedly deployed tear gas to scuttle protests, despite a newly passed state law that bans local police from using the chemical irritant except to quash riots. On Saturday, federal agents shot a man in the face with a less-than-lethal munition, fracturing his skull. Local officials, from the mayor to the governor, have asked the president to pull the federal officers out of the city. …

Locals are freaking out and wondering why there hasn’t been any national news coverage of these outrageous, gestapo tactics.

“I am proud to be among the loud chorus of elected officials calling for the federal troops in Portland’s streets to go home,” Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said in a statement shared with The Post on Sunday. “Their presence here has escalated tensions and put countless Portlanders exercising their First Amendment rights in greater danger.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown similarly called for federal law enforcement officers to leave Portland. She added, Wolf is on a “mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety,” Brown said in a statement. “The President is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.”

When contacted by Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Marshals Service denied that it had arrested Pettibone and said the agency always keeps records of its arrests.

“We’ve done a great job in Portland,” Trump said at a news conference on Monday. “Portland was totally out of control, and they went in, and I guess we have many people right now in jail. We very much quelled it, and if it starts again, we’ll quell it again very easily. It’s not hard to do, if you know what you’re doing.”

Yet the scene on Portland’s streets late Thursday reflected a different reality.

Protesters once again filled the streets in downtown, defiantly moving fencing meant to keep the crowd away from the Multnomah County Justice Center. And once again, federal officers launched tear gas into the protest.

As police, both local and federal, have responded to demonstrators with increasing force, the protests have grown more unwieldy and determined. Neither side appears ready to surrender.

“Once you’re out on the street and you’ve been tear-gassed and you see that there’s no reason — the police will claim that there’s a riot just so they can use tear gas — it makes you want to go out there even more to see if there can be any kind of justice,” Pettibone told The Post.
Watch more:

See this opinion piece from Washington Post: Trump’s agents are sweeping peaceful citizens off the streets. This is not America.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

anna daniels July 17, 2020 at 1:17 pm

To sum up– American citizens are “disappeared” from the streets of an American city by camouflaged, unidentified secret police. Detainee released but not told what if any charges.
We’ve seen this law & order playbook before, la mano dura. It is autocratic. It is fascism. Banana republic. Tinpot Dictatorship. Extra-judicial terrorism.

Call it what you will–it’s not democracy. & it is here right now.


retired botanist July 17, 2020 at 3:11 pm

Yep , I’ll ditto that, Anna.
FINALLY, this is starting to see more coverage in WaPo and around the swamp….


DrTom July 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm

I believe the reporting in this article, and the facts are completely
outrageous and unacceptable. If this happens here in San Diego,
I will immediately join the protestors. As bad as Trump has been,
this is the worst! The worst.


Chris July 18, 2020 at 1:36 pm

If this happens in San Diego you’ll immediately joint the protesters? If so then what exactly is you’re issue with this article? This article is ON THE SIDE of the protestors?


Chris July 18, 2020 at 1:38 pm

If you DO find the facts outrageous and unacceptable, life will still go on for you lol.


DrTom July 18, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Chis, that is pretty much what the people said in Germany as Hitler rose to power. I greatly support the protestors in Portland. Their freedom is being greatly curtailed by Trump !


Chris July 18, 2020 at 4:36 pm

You’re still no making sense. What exactly is your complaint about this article? This article is in SUPPORT of the protesters.


Chris July 18, 2020 at 4:44 pm

On a separate note. This is an opinion piece on the part of the author (Frank) so comparing it to Nazi Germany is absurd.


DrTom July 18, 2020 at 8:28 pm

Chris, I completely agree with Frank. I was comparing YOUR comment to pre-Nazi Germany. Nothing about the article, my comment is about you!


Peter from South O July 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm

This appears to be a tempest in a teapot, gentlemen. Did Chris interpret you literally when your first sentence is:

“I believe the reporting in this article, and the facts are completely
outrageous and unacceptable.”

That DOES mean that you found the reporting in the article to be completely outrageous, but I don’t think that is what you meant, now, is it?

Chris: “Lighten up, Francis”


Chris July 19, 2020 at 11:27 am

I guess I had my sarcasm radar in the off position. I was honestly confused.


Peter from South O July 19, 2020 at 12:06 pm



thequeenisalizard July 18, 2020 at 7:41 am

Plenty of videos available to confirm what’s happening in Washington. Isn’t this exactly what all the armed militia said they were ready to take up arms and fight against? Where are they now? (apologies in advance for the following language, it’s quoting them.) So it turns out they are just a bunch of pussies with little dicks and big mouths carrying guns around to intimidate people who are too scared to actually do what they “train” for. Hilarious!


Natalee Flóres July 18, 2020 at 4:44 pm

When I zoom out and think about things at a “planetary” scale. I think…the world is overpopulated. And Corona won’t change that, because it’s a hoax. So uh….hmm

There’s a disconnect between the Portland thing and the national narrative…maybe? Seems like a Corona quarantine would save Black lives while trampling freedom. (We’re pretty safe at home.) and I’m still unsure about BLM objectives.

Seems like we’re overdue for a narrative change. What’s on the horizon? Hurricane season? Election 2020? Are we feeling pretty jaded about that? I am excited about a potential VP Harris. West coast, Cali girl, multicultural woman of strength! I like that. She would rev me up for 2020.

What I really wanna ask is…can you still find an OB studio for under a grand/month in this day and age? Lol. Miss y’all.


LA July 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm

Breonna Taylor was not safe at home.


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