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U.S. Attorney rejects Portland mayor’s request to cancel federal deputation of officers

U.S. Attorney rejects Portland mayor’s request to cancel federal deputation of officers

by Katherine Kisiel | Katu2  |  Published on October 1, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) — Members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team who were deputized as Federal Marshals ahead of a recent rally will keep that designation through the end of the year, in spite of requests from Mayor Ted Wheeler to have it removed.

In a statement released Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in part, “The federal deputation supports front line law enforcement officers and their families in a way that they have not seen from City Hall. Portlanders, and Oregonians in general are sick of the boarded-up and dangerous conditions prevalent in downtown Portland due to a lack of leadership.”

Wheeler had asked the office to cancel the designation, since Governor Brown’s emergency order had expired. The order was issued ahead of a planned Proud Boys rally and counter demonstrations, which ultimately ended peacefully.

KATU talked with Lewis and Clark Law Professor Tung Yin about the move, and he said it’s similar to antagonistic federalism.

“This is kind of another iteration of that, where for some reason the city agreed in the first place to allow the officers to be deputized, but now it’s trying to take that back and say ‘you know what, we really don’t want to help you.’ And the U.S. Attorney’s Office seems to be saying, ‘well too bad, until you tell us absolutely, we’re going to keep them,'” said Yin.

Other legal experts wonder if this whole situation could have been prevented.

“This could have all been avoided a long time ago, if the city came to terms with what the protesters were talking about. I’ve heard a lot of local city leaders talk about being progressive and this is a city that values, things the president has stated he does not value, and that was not met with action. And because of that, the protests continue, and here we are,” said Juan Chavez with the Oregon Justice Resource Center.

The DOJ said the designation is expected to continue until Dec. 31.

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