On Monday, the Department of Justice announced they have arrested 236 people across the nation and 238 defendants have been charged nationwide in “cases related to violent opportunists and civil unrest.” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec tweeted that 74 people in Portland have been arrested, 60 of whom were charged with federal crimes for alleged acts they committed against federal police or facilities.
Current # of federal arrests and charged cases related to violent opportunists & civil unrest ⬇️
⏹ 74 arrests
⏹ 60 defendants charged
Total Nationally —
⏹ 236 arrests
⏹ 238 defendants charged
— Kerri Kupec DOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) July 27, 2020
The number of arrests by the DOJ fly in the face of claims that have been made that protests have been mostly peaceful. For example, on July 23, CNN reported, “As in other parts of the country, the protests in Portland were mostly peaceful, though they have at times devolved into violence, vandalism and arson.”
ABC News reported that on Sunday night, Portland police officers reportedly found a bag, potentially left for rioters that had improvised explosive devices and several loaded rifle magazines: “The discovery came just hours after two people were arrested following reports that a shot was fired in the same park. Officers responded just before 7:30 p.m. A person believed to be the gunshot victim arrived later at a hospital via a private vehicle with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.”
The Daily Wire reported that an AP reporter, Mike Balsamo, who was embedded with federal agents over the weekend, described his experience as follows:
I spent the weekend inside the Portland federal courthouse w/ the US Marshals. Mortars were being fired off repeatedly, fireworks & flares shot into the lobby, frozen bottles, concrete, cans & bouncy balls regularly whizzed over the fence at high speeds. I watched as injured officers were hauled inside. In one case, the commercial firework came over so fast the officer didn’t have time to respond. It burned through his sleeves & he had bloody gashes on both forearms. Another had a concussion from being hit in the head w/ a mortar.
The Portland police reported over the weekend, “Throughout the night some people in this crowd spent their time shaking the fence around the building, throwing rocks, bottles, and assorted debris over the fence, shining lasers through the fence, firing explosive fireworks into the area blocked by the fence, and using power tools to try to cut through the fence. People wore gas masks, carried shields, hockey sticks, leaf blowers, flags, and umbrellas specifically to thwart police in crowd dispersal or attempt to conceal criminal acts.”
“People against the fence sprayed unknown liquids through it toward the courthouse,” the department continued. “At about 1:03 a.m. people in the crowd attached a chain to the fence and with many people pulling managed to pull a section of it down. People began lighting fires along SW 3rd Avenue. People climbed over the fence to get close to the federal courthouse. People continued to launch mortar style fireworks at ground level that were exploding near others.”
After Federal Protective Service officers from the Department of Homeland Security had arrived in the city but could not sufficiently protect a federal courthouse, tactical agents from the federal government were sent to Portland, as The Washington Examiner noted. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security tweeted Monday:
These aren’t the tools of peaceful protesters. They are tools of violent rioters looking to harm and destroy. https://t.co/2R8DK1cbaW
— DHS spokesperson (@SpoxDHS) July 27, 2020
On July 24, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan tweeted, “We absolutely support the right to peacefully protest. But the moment you put a weapon in your hand, an incendiary device, a brick, a laser, etc. to intentionally harm a federal officer, you have transitioned from a protestor to a criminal.”
We absolutely support the right to peacefully protest. But the moment you put a weapon in your hand, an incendiary device, a brick, a laser, etc. to intentionally harm a federal officer, you have transitioned from a protestor to a criminal. https://t.co/OhAKQcEr2o
— CBP Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) July 24, 2020
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