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Merkley, Wyden, Blumenauer, Bonamici Call for Investigations into Federal Operatives in Portland

The request for Inspector General investigations follows the shooting of a protester, and arrests by unmarked federal forces

PORTLAND, OR – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, with U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, today announced that they will be asking the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offices of Inspector General to investigate the unrequested presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland.


“Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets”

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Trump is deploying federal officers to Portland, and in the last week they’ve shot a protester in the head with a potentially deadly munition, and are now roaming the streets of downtown Portland in unmarked vans and in camouflage, rounding up people and detaining them with no explanation or identification.

These largely peaceful protests began in response to injustice and systemic police violence against communities of color. The presence and the violent tactics of these federal officers have done nothing but escalate tensions.

It’s abhorrent. It’s a terrifying abuse of power. And it has no place in a democratic society. 

Enough. We will not be silent in the face of Trump’s attempt to weaponize federal law enforcement to bolster his re-election chances. This has nothing to do with public safety, and everything to do with Trump’s flailing polling numbers.

He already tried this in June when he teargassed protesters in Washington, D.C., for a political photo op. And as Governor Brown put it, “Trump is looking for a confrontation in Oregon in the hopes of winning political points in Ohio or Iowa.”

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with members of Oregon’s Democratic Congressional Delegation, have now called for an investigation into the presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland.

We demand answers, we demand accountability, and we demand that Trump’s unlawful federal agents leave Portland, now.

KC Hanson
Democratic Party of Oregon

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How shall we protest against the supremacists in Brookings on September 7? What if we respond in a coordinated way. Simply stated, I will, and I’d like for others, to form a line from the Democrats’ office to the antique store. Each person would be masked and standing or seated 6 feet from the next one. And…most importantly, we would agree to turn our backs to the III%ers and other supremacists.

Why? First, by doing a similar action together we show coordination and dedication to a strategy. The young people trained in Nashville for nearly a year in non-violent civil disobedience tactics. Then they experienced the kind of harassment shown. And at sit ins they did have mustard, ketchup and milkshakes poured onto their heads. The training mattered in their ability to stay focused AND in the respect they demanded, and got.

I have also experienced a similar strategy work…powerfully… in the South in the 80’s. Myself and other white lesbian mothers of black children went to stage a counterprotest to a KKK rally in backwoods Murpheesboro TN. We arrived. Men with guns were stationed at the tower of the County Courthouse where the gathering was to happen. We saw them as we arrived. We did not know whose side they were on.

The KKK filed in, with their men, tiny little children and women in robes and hoods. Guns were everywhere. We did not reply, to their chants, jeers and posturing. And as the KKK took over, and marched through this small town, we turned, together, away from them, showing them only our backs, and our children’s backs. And so we said, “What you are doing is not worth of our notice. And we are not afraid of you.”

We left that day, after protesting in the intense Tennessee 4th of July heat, and went home to potlucks and poetry readings. Another day of lesbian resistance in the South. And we were empowered.

Here in Brookings, we’ve tried several strategies, online and in person. (Even responsive) yelling and confrontations and screen shots online, in my humble opinion, have not worked well. We are a small place. We know each other. We don’t have to attack anonymously. September 7 is a day we can change hearts and minds, one by one, for the better

These are my thoughts, and my choice. I hope you will like to join with me in this strategy. And I offer this as a way, also, to reflect and decide about how WE choose to respond to racism, not how it goads us to react. See you at the Dems office at 9:00 a.m. on September 7, and thanks for reading.
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Statement from Democratic Party of Oregon Leadership on Protests and Police Violence

The Democratic Party has not lived up to our Party’s vision for true equality. This is why we are recommitting ourselves to the actions necessary to bring about needed changes that are so long overdue. Our eyes are open, we share the anger, and we stand in humble solidarity with all who are working to bring about critical cultural transformation.

We stand united with millions of people around the world in our condemnation of police violence against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and far too many other innocent black Americans whose lives were taken way too soon. Black lives matter. They are precious, glorious, and irreplaceable.

In these most extraordinary times, anger and frustration about the status quo is not just understandable but justified. Violence and destruction are not. We will march shoulder to shoulder with those who have taken to the streets to peacefully protest. Making our voices heard is a moral imperative. If we want to bring about real systemic change, then the choice isn’t between protests and politics. We have to do both.

At a time when our nation is suffering under misguided and malevolent leadership that seeks to divide us and turn back the clock to a supposed “greater” America, we know that the greatness of our nation is in its diversity. And as we work to take back our democracy, we must move forward with a full understanding of our historical strengths and weaknesses. That means fighting against the forces that seek to divide us — including fascists, right-wing agitators, and those inclined to incite violence for violence’s sake.

DPO Black Caucus Chair, Rosa Colquitt, PhD, said it best last week when she wrote:

The very core of both our Platform and our belief system as Democrats is about the equality of all. But in the wake of yet another senseless killing, we face the sad reality that our advocacy and even our most heartfelt, passionate beliefs were not enough to save George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the thousands who came before.

As the leadership of the Democratic Party of Oregon, we demand the public right to equal treatment before the law — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, physical ability, or economic means.

We see and understand “unequal justice before the law.” In this tragic moment in history, we will work tirelessly to elect candidates who demand and act on reform to bring real systemic change for Black Americans and all other communities of color. With our eyes firmly on the prize, we will work with those who are striving to create a just and prosperous future for all.

Thank you,

Carla “K.C.” Hanson
Democratic Party of Oregon Chair

Pete Lee
Democratic Party of Oregon Vice Chair

Michelle Risher
Democratic Party of Oregon Vice Chair

Eileen Kiely
Democratic Party of Oregon Secretary

Eddy Morales
Democratic Party of Oregon Treasurer

Tanya Shively
Democratic National Committee Member

Travis Nelson
Democratic National Committee Member

Matt Keating
Democratic National Committee Member

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