“This is simply unacceptable, and it must stop,” said Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Armed Forces Committee Chairman Adam Smith of Washington in a statement.
“Our nation is at a crossroads, and as Americans across the country exercise their First Amendment rights, the Trump Administration has repeatedly deployed federal law enforcement officials to try to silence them,” the statement continued.
The statement was issued one day after Mr. Nadler, Mr. Thompson and Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of New York wrote to a trio of government watchdogs demanding an investigation into allegations of federal law enforcement’s use of excessive force against protesters.
They say the inspector generals for the Justice Department and Homeland Security should investigate whether federal offices are using heavy-handed tactics to break up protests.
Federal officers in unmarked vehicles and wearing what appears to be military uniforms have been patrolling Portland streets arresting protesters. Some protesters have claimed they were arrested without officers reading their Miranda rights.
The battles between protesters and law enforcement in Portland have gained national attention in the past week. Both the Portland mayor and Oregon governor have asked the federal agents to leave, a request that has been rejected by the president.
President Trump said Sunday he approved the federal action in Portland and expects to expand it to other cities across the country.
“These alarming actions beg a number of serious questions. Was it the intent of the Trump Administration to make it seem as though the U.S. military is being deployed to control a U.S. city? Are they completely ignorant about the optics of the situation?” the Democrats said in their statement.
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