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Wyden, Merkley bill targets feds’ Portland ‘shadowy paramilitary occupations’

U.S. Capitol
KTVZ file

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), announced Monday they are introducing the Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act, which they said "would block the Trump administration from deploying federal forces as a shadowy paramilitary against Americans."

Monday's action comes after a week in which heavily armed, unmarked federal forces in unmarked vehicles have been grabbing protesters off the street in Portland, the lawmakers said. Those forces have deployed munitions and tear gas against protesters nightly over the weekend.

The legislators said federal incursion has inflamed conflict in Portland at a time when local leaders are working to de-escalate friction between protesters and police and has been opposed by Portland’s and Oregon’s elected leaders.

The senators also introduced Monday’s legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is currently debating.

“What we have seen in the last 10 days in Portland has been horrific and unconscionable,” said Merkley. “Federal forces have shot an unarmed protester in the head with impact munitions, and paramilitary forces in camouflage have been grabbing people off the streets and putting them into unmarked vans. These are the actions of an authoritarian regime, not a democratic republic. This gross violation of Americans’ civil rights must end immediately.”

"Donald Trump's occupying army continues to trample on the constitutional rights of Oregonians and escalate violence against peaceful protesters," Wyden said. "If Congress doesn't step in, these authoritarian tactics won't stop in my hometown. If it can happen in Portland, it can happen anywhere."

"Unidentified federal law enforcement are pulling protestors off the street into unmarked vans and detaining them without explanation. That's the kind of behavior we expect from dictatorships, not the United States of America. Without identification there is no way to hold these officers accountable, and there is no way to know if they are really federal officers. We cannot allow an American secret police. I hope that Republicans will join us in recognizing the severity of this threat and include this legislation in the NDAA,” said Murphy.

“The Trump Administration’s egregious trampling of individual liberties and the right of free assembly should never have been allowed to happen. Yet it’s clear that the Gestapo-like tactics used in Washington, D.C. and now Portland are likely a dress rehearsal for other communities around the country,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “We must block this type of dangerous and undemocratic behavior once and for all.”

“It is outrageous that there are newly deployed, unidentified federal officers on Portland streets,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. “This is what authoritarian regimes do; it’s not what we do in the United States. We must hold law enforcement accountable for violating the Constitutional rights of Oregonians and for escalating tensions in our community, and we must pass this legislation to block Trump from sending unidentified officers to operate with impunity in Portland and other cities across the country.”

Specifically, Monday’s legislation would:

  1. Require individual and agency identification on uniforms of officers and prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests.
  2.  Limit federal agents’ crowd control activities to federal property and its immediate vicinity, unless their presence is specifically requested by both the mayor and governor.
  3. Require disclosure on an agency website within 24 hours of deployments specifying the number of personnel and purposes of deployment.
  4. Make arrests in violation of these rules unlawful.

In addition to Merkley, Wyden, and Murphy, the legislation and the Senate NDAA amendment are cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

The full text of the Senate NDAA amendment can be found here.

KTVZ news sources



  1. Our jackasses in Oregon office aren’t doing a damn thing to stop all the rioting and destruction in Portland. Someone has too. Grow some and then come back and talk to us Merkley and Wyden, you both are worthless to us in Oregon

    1. A little spray paint. BFD. Portland is not on fire, it is not being destroyed. Quit being so hysterical. Quit watching faux . Trump is trying to get you yokuls All hot and bothered so you will ignore the soon to be 200,000 dead on his watch.

  2. I sure hope the Feds deny any request by these idiots to rebuild Portland at our tax expense. The names listed are the worst in government. I hope they all get voted out of office. These are Trump haters, careful who you vote for. If you like what Portland has become, that is the Democrat party.

    1. Oh you know they will. Wheeler and Brown will be on their soap box demanding “justice for Portland” to the tune of millions of federal dollars for “ the damage Trump has allowed” to take place in Oregon.

  3. “Without identification there is no way to hold these officers accountable, and there is no way to know if they are really federal officers.” OK so they aren’t sure they are federal officers but they are blaming the federal government? I swear these two elected officials are having a contest to see how many ridiculous bills they can make up. My 2 cents, if you don’t want to be thrown in a van by someone with what appears to be authority dont go to a protest that is likely to get violent or become riotous, and definitely don’t try to burn down buildings or hurt people.

  4. Merkley. More worried about having to sit by some commoner in the middle seat of an airplane then rioters burning Portland. Both these beta clowns think they can appease this mob of violent malcontents.

  5. I can’t believe all of these idiot politicians are really that stupid. Everyone of these clowns are condoning destruction of our property. You can’t fix stupid but you can vote their a– out.

    TRUMP 2020

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