THE mayor of Portland has issued an ultimatum to the federal government: keep your agents in their buildings or remove them from the city.
Mayor Ted Wheeler criticized a "heavy-handed response" by federal agents against protesters and journalists during the intense demonstrations in Oregon on Thursday.
Militarized law enforcement personnel were reportedly refusing to identify themselves during the heated clashes in Portland, according to Fox News.
"Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city," Wheeler said during a news conference on Friday.
He then accused President Trump of "abusing" his federal powers to boost his lagging poll numbers.
"This is part of the core media strategy out of Trump's White House: to use federal troops to bolster his sagging poll data," said Wheeler.
"And it is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials."
Wheeler's remarks came hours after the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon filed al lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and the US Marshals Service for allegedly violating journalists' and legal observers' rights.
Federal officers have charged at least 13 people for crimes related to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Thursday.
Federal troops deployed tear gas and shot non-lethal rounds at the "violent mob" during Thursday's protests.
Footage showed many demonstrators leaving the area near the federal courthouse late on Thursday night as smoke filled the air and Portland began trending on Twitter.
Police in military garb reportedly bundled protesters into unmarked cars – hours after Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said state and city authorities failed to stem the protests.
He told Fox News federal troops would continue to patrol Portland after six weeks of civil unrest – which includes officers from ICE and Customs and Border Protection agencies, according to Newsday.
"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," Wolf wrote in a blistering statement yesterday.
"Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it."
Wheeler and other local officials asked DHS officials to leave the ransacked city, saying they didn't need their help.
"We’re aware that they’re here," the mayor tweeted.
"We wish they weren’t. We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline."
'BURN THE PRECINCT'
On Thursday night, a few hundred people had gathered near the federal courthouse.
They took property from a local Indonesian restaurant to create barriers against the riot police, Twitter users said.
Protesters used umbrellas as shields and burned an American flag on Burnside Street, per one KOIN 6 reporter.
Earlier, protesters had beamed a "Black Lives Matter" projection onto one precinct building.
But Portland police said they began to chant about torching the Southeast Precinct and it was deemed to be "an unlawful assembly."
"We have heard chants stating the crowd around Southeast Precinct wants to enter the property and burn down the precinct," cops said in a Twitter statement.
"You are subject to arrest and use of force including crowd control munitions if you enter the property."
But protesters crossed onto precinct property anyway and starting a fire on East Burnside Street just before 10pm local time, Portland Police Bureau said.
Downtown, others removed a fence, blocked traffic, and threw bottles at the officers trying to fix the fence.
The crowd around Southeast Precinct wants to enter the property and burn down the precinct.
The Oregonian reported that officers fired rounds and deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd.
But some protesters remained in the area early Friday and were detained by the military police, the newspaper revealed.
Meanwhile, Portland cops made several "targeted" arrests by 11.40 pm local time.
"The criminal activity consisted of throwing rocks, bottles, and sticks, as well as pointing green lasers at officers," police said.
They also revealed that a vehicle associated with the BLM group "drove up behind officers, narrowly missing officers on foot and causing an extremely dangerous situation" just before midnight.
No CS gas was used by the Portland Police Bureau.
On Friday, Homeland Security acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told Fox & Friends that the federal government has a responsibility to protect buildings such as the courthouse.
"What we’ve seen around the country is where responsible policing is advanced, violence recedes," Cuccinelli said.
"And Portland hasn’t gotten that memo. Nor have a lot of other cities.
"And the president is determined to do what we can, within our jurisdiction, to help restore peace to these beleaguered cities."
Tensions escalated after Wolf's blistering condemnation of the "violent mob," which listed all the damage done to the fraught city in chronological order.
This included: vandalism, smashing the windows of federal buildings, throwing fireworks at cops on July 2 and into Hatfield US Courthouse on July 4, hurling rocks and bottles at cops on July 7, and throwing "fecal matter" at officers on July 12.
Protesters also doxed police officers on Wednesday and trespassed on federal property, destroying a card reader at the Justice Center on the same day.
“A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice – to attack it is to attack America," Wolf raged.
"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.
A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice – to attack it is to attack America.
"DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them."
Reports have also emerged that a protester Donavan LaBella, 26, was shot in the head and injured, which is being investigated by the US Marshals Service.
Local and state officials like Senator Ron Wyden blamed President Donald Trump for the incident, saying he was "weaponizing" DHS as an "occupying army" because he deployed federal officers there.
The Sun contacted PPB, DHS, and Mayor Wheeler for comment on Friday.
On Wednesday, the President vowed to "straighten things out" and slammed "left-wing" people "running cities" for "not doing the job they're supposed to be doing," Fox News reported.
“They’re all liberal, left-wing Democrats,” he added. “And it’s almost like they think it is going to be this way forever.”
The Floyd protests across the country have been mostly peaceful but several cities did see escalated incidents amid demonstrations, like Seattle, Minneapolis, and New York City.
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