07.23.20

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on Deployment of Federal Officers to Portland and Other Cities

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) issued the following statement today about the deployment of unidentifiable federal law enforcement officers to Portland, OR and other U.S. cities.

“This is a Democracy, not a dictatorship. Unidentifiable federal officers using unmarked cars and dressed as soldiers arresting peaceful protestors with zero probable cause is something we would normally see in a dictatorship or a failed state. We can never allow this to happen in our country.

“In recent days we have seen the shocking images of camouflaged officers on the streets of Portland using batons, tear gas and impact munitions against people exercising their First Amendment rights. We have seen federal officers point firearms at protestors who appear to pose no threat or danger. These actions are a gross violation of our Constitutional rights and do nothing to help local authorities uphold the law – in fact they only escalate conflict and undermine the efforts of local leaders to resolve tensions.

“To end this abuse of power, I am working with Rep. Blumenauer, Rep. Bonamici, and others in the House and Senate on legislation to block the Trump administration from deploying federal forces as a shadowy paramilitary against Americans. We cannot allow this unconstitutional operation to continue in Portland or expand to other cities – including Oakland.”

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Rep. Lee is an original cosponsor of H.R. 7719, the Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act, which would do the following:

  • Require individual and agency identification on uniforms of officers and prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests.
  • 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.
  • Require disclosure on an agency website within 24 hours of deployments specifying the number of personnel and purposes of deployment.
  • Make arrests in violation of these rules unlawful.