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Tag: CBP

Government Watchdogs Investigating Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland, Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security have launched investigations into how federal agents have used force and detained protesters during demonstrations in Portland and Washington D.C.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing the use of force by U.S. Marshals in Portland and the FBI, DEA and ATF in Washington D.C., The Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari is investigating allegations that CBP agents “improperly detained and transported protesters” in Portland, where protesters and federal officers have clashed over the past week.

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House said the investigations are “critically important” as the Trump administration plans to deploy federal agents to additional cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.

“Many of these federal agents are dressed as soldiers, driving unmarked vehicles and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies,” they wrote. “Nearly everywhere they have deployed, their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police.”

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Oregon issued a temporary restraining order barring federal agents in Portland from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials.

“It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent or agree to the unsolicited, uninvited intervention in any of my cities,” Ridge told KDKA . “I certainly don’t favor that kind of action, and certainly don’t think DHS was designed for that purpose to start with.”

CBP Sent 3 Paramilitary-Style Units to Crackdown on Protests in Portland

Border Patrol Tactic Unit via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection has sent three specially trained, paramilitary-style units to help crackdown on protests Portland, Reuters confirms.

“We have agents and officers from our special operations groups deployed,” a CBP official said in an email.

A lot of questions have been raised since videos began circulating on social media last week that showed camouflage-clad officers in tactical gear and no insignia clashing with protesters in Portland. State and local leaders have criticized the deployment, and civil-rights advocates argue the officers are violating protesters’ free speech rights.

One of the units identified by Reuters is the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), which “provides an immediate response capability to emergent and high-risk incidents requiring specialized skills and tactics,” according to CBP’s website.

The other units are the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue and Special Response teams.

Democrats and some Republicans are questioning the wisdom of sending federal agents to quell protests in American cities.

“Donald Trump has no justification for deploying paramilitary troops to the streets of Portland or any other American city,” Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said. “These occupying forces are creating conflict, attacking peaceful protesters and making my hometown more dangerous. For Portland to find peace, Trump needs to pull unwanted federal agents out of our city immediately.”

Memo: Federal Agents in Portland Not Adequately Trained in Riot Control Or Mass Demonstrations

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents who were sent to Portland to quell protests were not adequately trained in riot control or mass demonstrations, Homeland Security warned in an internal memo.

The memo, dated Thursday, was written for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who criticized local officials’ handling of protests that resulted in property damage at federal buildings, The New York Times reports.

The presence of federal officers has drawn widespread criticism and lawsuits after videos circulated on social media showing the officers in camouflage grabbing protesters from the streets and loading them into unmarked minivans.

“Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies,” the memo warns.

Among those sent to Portland were tactical agents from a group known as BORTAC, a SWAT-type team that typically investigates drug smuggling organizations, not protests.

Homeland Security spokesman Alexei Woltornist said the federal agents received “additional training for their deployment in the city” to help the Federal Protective Service.

The sight of federal officers shooting tear gas and non-lethal projectiles at protesters appears to have escalated “fear and violence” in the city, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosemblum argued in a lawsuit filed Friday against Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, and CBP.

Federal Officers in Unmarked Vans Are Seizing Protesters in Portland without Explanation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal officers in camouflage and unmarked minivans are detaining protesters in Portland without the approval of local and state officials.

Videos posted on social media show federal officers grabbing protesters off the street without explanation and driving off with them in unmarked vehicles.

Since early July, officers with U.S. Marshals, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations have been in Portland, ostensibly to protect federal buildings.

But federal officers “are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren’t near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

Civil rights attorneys question the tactics, saying the federal officers appear to be violating protesters’ rights to due process.

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” attorney Juan Chavez, director of the civil rights project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says, calling the arrests “terrifying.”

“You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he says. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was not happy with the presence of federal law enforcement.

“We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t,” Wheeler tweeted Thursday evening. “We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline.”

On Saturday night, a protester was seriously injured when a federal agent fired a crowd-control weapon at him outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was in Portland on Thursday and criticized the mayor and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

“Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city,” Wolf said in a news release. “Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”

Wolf released a list of property crimes involving federal buildings.

“This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law. DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them. Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists,” Wolf said.

Wheeler said the federal officers are escalating tensions by using “life-threatening tactics,” accusing President Trump and Wheeler of “weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence.”

CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan Calls Out Portland Leaders After Violence Breaks Out

CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan on Fox & Friends Weekend.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan slammed political leaders in Portland over their handling of violence in the city Saturday after Border Patrol agents were sent in to assist.

“What we saw in Portland last night was criminal and we stood strong with our federal partners to resist that,” Morgan told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday.

“Where are the local political leaders?”

Portland police declared the protest “a riot” late on Independence Dat after fires were set and violence broke out.

“These are not protesters, these are criminals who got together and organized and planned and actually brought weapons, they brought shields, they brought frozen water bottles, rocks, lasers, weapons with the intent to destroy a federal building and harm law enforcement officers,” Morgan said.

The protest comes after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Morgan called out one of the “criminals” for “trying to assault one of the CBP employees while he was being arrested.”

ICE, CBP Deploys Troops And Resources to Assist Law Enforcement Amid Protests

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE and CBP have deployed troops and resources to assist local, state and federal law enforcement quell violence at protests across the nation.

“These ‘protests’ have devolved into chaos & acts of domestic terrorism by groups of radicals & agitators,” CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted. “@CBP is answering the call and will work to keep DC safe.”

Morgan also said CBP was helping protect national monuments and memorial in Washington D.C.

“Last night, some of them were defaced by rioters,” Morgan tweeted on Monday. “We’re working hard to prevent it from happening again, and we’re proud to protect them.”

The deployment comes after Trump announced that he was dispatching the military across Washington D.C.

Trump also said he may send U.S. troops to U.S. cities where governors are not deploying their state National Guards to “dominate” their streets.

Democratic lawmakers called Trump’s threats an affront to free speech rights.

“This next week will be critical,” U.S. Rep Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said in a news release Monday. We are at a crossroads. I hope our veterans speak out and stand up for the core values they believe in. This is a dangerous path for our institutions, our military –– and our nation.”

Border Patrol Agents Nominated for Awards After Saving Life of Car Crash Victim

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Three Border Patrol agents have been nominated for coveted awards after saving the life of a passenger in a car that had burst into flames.

Agents F. Gonzales, K. Carrol, and S. Roe were car-pooling home in southern California when they spotted flames from a car that had crashed into a center divider.

While one of the agents called 911, the others broke a car window to pull a passenger to safety. The driver was dead.

Carrol, who is a certified emergency medical technician, treated the passenger while awaiting for medics to arrive. Roe helped occupants of another vehicle involved in the crash.

“I am extremely proud of the heroism displayed by these agents during this catastrophic accident,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a news release. “If not for the quick action of these three agents, another life would have almost certainly been lost in this tragic accident.”

Gonzalez and Carrol were nominated for the Newton-Azrak Award, Border Patrol’s highest honor. Roe has been nominated for another notable award, the U.S. Border Patrol Commendation Award.

Gregory Bovino Named Chief Patrol Agent of Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector

Gregory Bovino, chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector. Via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gregory Bovino, a 24-year-veteran of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has been appointed chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector.

Bovino is responsible for managing all Border Patrol operations and administrative functions within the El Centro Sector, which covers 70 miles of land along the border, as well as inland areas of California, extending to the Oregon State line.

Bovino previously served as chief patrol agent of the agency’s New Orleans sector.

Bovino joined the Border Patrol in 1996 and was assigned as an agent in California at the El Centro Station in the El Centro Sector. Since then, Bovino has been promoted to a variety of positions.

“I am ecstatic about assuming command of the El Centro Sector, the nation’s premier sector, and becoming part of this great, tight-knit community,” Bovino says in a news release.