Local police unions appear to be going around the elected officials who oversee their departments to work with federal agents to crack down on protesters in some cities.
Leaders in Chicago and Portland have publicly disavowed federal law enforcement policing demonstrations in their cities, the president of Portland’s police union met with Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf last week to discuss Customs and Border Protection agents, reported The Daily Beast.
That meeting apparently came without the knowledge of the city’s police chief, and the president of Chicago’s police union reached out to President Donald Trump for federal intervention against protesters in that city.
The administration is sending 150 federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations to Chicago, and protesters there have said local police and federal agents are obviously working together.
Trump has threatened to send federal agents into other cities, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as a show of force against protests that have continued for just about two months following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
Daryl Turner, the president of Portland’s police union, met with Trump’s DHS acting secretary after the Portland Police Association passed a vote of no confidence against the city’s elected officials, and the police chief seemed confused about whether officers had met with Wolf.
Portland police are bound by a judge’s injunction forbidding tear gas and other less-lethal tactics, but federal agents are not — and activists believe local officers are using those unbadged and camouflaged agents as cover.
“They stand right next to each other and shoot us at the same time,” said local activist Greg McElvey. “That’s usually the telltale. They disperse crowds at the same time, we see them talk to each other. Other than throwing people into vans, this is all stuff the Portland Police were already doing.”