The Trump administration has taken action to send more federal agents to Portland, Oregon, to protect a federal courthouse targeted by rioters as violent protests continue to rock the city.
What are the details?
The Washington Post reported Monday that internal emails from the U.S. Marshals Service last week revealed plans for an additional 100 deputy U.S. Marshals being deployed to Portland to assist and relieve existing federal agents guarding the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, which has been the target of the nightly attacks.
Drew Wade, a spokesman for the Marshals Service told the outlet in a statement, “The agency took steps to identify up to 100 personnel to send to the District of Oregon in case they were needed to relieve or supplement deputies permanently stationed in the district.”
Wade added, “They may also be used to rotate with personnel already sent there to support district operations during the civil unrest mission to insure the function and safety of judicial proceedings.”
The Post also reported that the Department of Homeland Security is also considering sending another 50 U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to Portland to assist, but no final plans have been solidified.
News of the reinforcement comes after an Associated Press reporter gave his account of what it was like being barricaded inside the federal courthouse as it fell under attack by protesters, among reports that numerous U.S. Marshals standing guard have been injured in attacks from rioters.
The Oregonian reported that Sunday marked the 60th night of protests in Portland in reaction to the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officers in late May.
What about the lawsuit?
Also on Monday, members of three groups representing protesters sued the Trump administration “over its use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other aggressive means in response to protests in Portland,” The Hill reported.
Black Lives Matter joined groups Wall of Moms and Don’t Shoot Portland in filing a nine-count complaint in federal court in Washington, D.C., accusing the Trump administration of violating protesters’ First Amendment rights by sending federal agents to intervene in the ongoing demonstrations.
The lawsuit was filed by left-leaning group Protect Democracy, who wrote on Twitter that it was seeking to “stop the @realDonaldTrump administration’s unlawful invasion of Portland.”
What did the president say?
President Donald Trump tweeted Monday, “Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalize or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States, will be prosecuted under our recently re-enacted Statues and Monuments Acts. MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON. Don’t do it!”