Last night witnessed a dramatic escalation by federal law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon when federal officers dressed in distinguishing military style uniforms joined Portland Police lines that were moving protesters out of the downtown area. This is a dramatic escalation because they were originally deployed after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect federal building and monuments, and the response to that order was to protect federal buildings in downtown Portland, specifically the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and the Edith Green-Wendall Wyatt Federal Building two blocks south of the courthouse. This often involved U.S. Marshals and Border Patrol agents storming out of the courthouse and driving protesters out of the park blocks across the street which are also federal property. All that behavior appeared consistent with an executive order to protect federal buildings and monuments like the courthouse, federal building, and the war memorial in the park across the street. All people had to do to avoid a scuffle with the feds was to not stay on federal property. That is not the case anymore.
As the above image shows (screenshot from Adam Costello's stream on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/adam13987) there were federal officers marching with the Portland Police two blocks from the courthouse. They continued to march with the cops for several blocks going north and west far beyond any federal property. Eventually they forced protesters west across the I-405 freeway. With the federal officers came a lot of CS gas grenades that the Portland Police can only use when a riot has been declared (https://www.wweek.com/news/state/2020/07/01/in-a-quick-special-session-oregon-lawmakers-did-something-unusual-they-got-along-and-passed-reforms/). As far as we can tell there was no riot declared last night by the Portland Police or if there was they certainly did not announce it on their Twitter account (https://twitter.com/portlandpolice) like they usually do. What they did say on Twitter was:
"PPB is aware Federal Officers are currently engaging a crowd in the area of SW 3rd Ave between SW Salmon St/SW Main St. Federal Officers also deployed CS. PPB is asking the community to avoid the area for safety." - Portland Police on Twitter
"PPB has closed the area in downtown Portland between SW Harvey Milk St to SW Colombia Ave / SW Naito Pkwy to SW Broadway Ave. If you are in this area Please leave now." - Portland Police on Twitter
Notice that the word "riot" is not in any of those Tweets like there was on the 4th of July when a riot was declared (https://twitter.com/PortlandPolice/status/1279658727205793797). So, if there was no riot declared how did the Portland Police legally manage to herd protesters out of downtown using CS gas grenades? They didn't, federal officers marching with the Portland Police line deployed their own tear gas and other "less than lethal" munitions. There was no need for the Portland Police to declare a riot so that they could use tear gas because the feds were the ones using tear gas. There is nothing Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler can legally do to stop the feds from using tear gas, but he should be able to tell Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell to order his officers not to assist the federal government. This would require Portland Police to pull back whenever federal officers try to join their ranks. Oregon Governor Kate Brown could issue similar orders to all state law enforcement officers not to assist federal officers with crowd control actions. That is all they can legally do. Personally, this author would like to see Governor Brown do something illegal which would be to order the National Guard to arrest all federal authorities in the state and expel them to any neighboring state willing to accept them.
Federal officers have also been targeting journalists indiscriminately. We know this from watching several streams where CS gas has been shot or thrown directly at them, and other less than lethal munitions such as pepper balls, and possibly even rubber bullets or bean bag rounds have been shot directly at people that have just been filming the demonstrations even when they have worn clothing clearly identifying themselves as "press" or "media." Right before the 4th of July weekend, United States District Judge Michael Simon issues a 14 day temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting the Portland Police from targeting journalists by ordering them exempt from dispersal orders made by the Portland Police or anyone working at their direction (https://copblaster.com/blast/25822/judge-michael-simon-just-made-portland-a-lot-safer). That TRO led to the first real noticeable increase in federal brutality in Portland on July 3rd and throughout the 4th of July weekend (https://copblaster.com/blast/25824/u-s-marshals-assault-journalists-with-cs-gas-at-federal-courthouse). Protests that weekend started off noticeably different in a good way as live streamers were free to cover the protests without being attacked by the Portland Police. This led them to develop a false sense of security that quickly when away when U.S. Marshals stormed out of the courthouse and began targeting journalists.
We have since learned that although the federal force defending the courthouse was largely led by U.S. Marshals in the beginning that they have been reinforced by the Border Patrol and Homeland Security. Today the other agencies appear to far outnumber the U.S. Marshals. Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan claimed responsibility for the surge July 5th saying that most of the federal reinforcements came from him (https://copblaster.com/blast/25831/mark-morgan-orders-border-patrol-to-patrol-federal-courthouse). Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has since claimed that his department has sent in "additional individuals" and that they "should have more support from the local Police there." President Donald Trump responded by praising Wolf saying "It's a pretty wild group, but you have it in very good control, so we appreciate it. Local law enforcement, uh, has been told not to do too much and its not the way its supposed to be, but that's ok." (see video below).'
Protesters should take notice of the escalation and do their best to avoid being taken prisoner by the feds. This requires keeping their distance and of course running for their lives whenever the feds move in on the crowds. They also might want to avoid using laser pointers because that activity has led to federal charges due to some lasers having a history of damaging people's eyes (https://copblaster.com/blast/25832/ausa-christopher-cardani-pursues-laser-based-assault-charges). A lot of people probably don't realize that some lasers actually can cause serious injuries and injuring a federal officer to any degree would most likely result in a federal prison sentence from anyone even if they don't already have a criminal history.