The Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday he has opened an investigation into allegations that some federal law enforcement officers used excessive force in dealing with violent protests in Portland, Oregon, and in Washington, D.C.
Michael E. Horowitz said he’s been asked to investigate by Congress, his office has received direct complaints, and the U.S. attorney in Oregon also asked for a probe into the situation. Portland is now in its eighth week of unrest, and the federal courthouse has become a flashpoint for violence, with demonstrators attacking it with graffiti and hammers, and federal officers and agents responding.
The inspector general also said he’s looking at Justice Department units deployed last month in Washington, where demonstrators were cleared from Lafayette Park near the White House one night, just before President Trump strolled over to look at St. John’s Church.
Mr. Horowitz will focus on the Justice Department officers deployed, but he said he’s coordinating with the inspector general at Homeland Security. Officers from both departments were used to grapple with the protests in both Portland.
Mr. Horowitz also said he’ll work with the Interior Department inspector general on the Washington incident, because U.S. Park Police were part of the response.
“The review will include examining the training and instruction that was provided to the DOJ law enforcement personnel; compliance with applicable identification requirements, rules of engagement, and legal authorities; and adherence to DOJ policies regarding the use of less-lethal munitions, chemical agents, and other uses of force,” the inspector general said in a statement.
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