The Washington Post reported Monday that the Trump administration is beefing up the federal muscle in Portland after weeks of protests there.
But in a statement, one of the law federal enforcement agencies in question called the Post’s reporting “inaccurate.”
DOJ and DHS personnel in the city have prompted outrage from protesters and local leaders for their use of force and arrest tactics. But the Trump administration has repeatedly criticized local leadership for not coming down harder on demonstrators.
As the DOJ’s law enforcement arm tasked with protecting courthouses, among other responsibilities, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has been at the center of the action in Portland.
Citing an internal email, the Post reported that USMS had decided last week to send 100 deputies to Portland — that personnel began arriving Thursday night, the Post reported.
But in a statement to The Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman, a USMS spokesperson disputed the Post’s reporting.
“USMS did not send 100 more deputy US Marshals to Portland last week,” the statement read. “The agency took steps to identify up to 100 personnel to send to the District of Oregon in case they were needed to relieve or supplement deputies permanently stationed in the district.”
“They may also be used to rotate with personnel already sent there to support district operations during the civil unrest mission there to insure [sic] the function and safety of judicial proceedings,” the statement added.
Dave Oney, a spokesperson for the Marshals, told TPM over the phone that USMS was giving deputies “a heads up: ‘Hey, you may be going out there at some point.'”
The Department of Homeland Security, the Post reported, was mulling sending another 50 Customs and Border Protection personnel to Portland.
“CBP can confirm that additional personnel were sent to Portland,” the agency said in a statement to TPM Friday. “CBP remains fully committed to support the request from Federal Protective Services to protect federal buildings and property. The additional personnel will serve to maintain our current capabilities on the ground.”
The Federal Protective Service, the DHS arm in charge of protecting federal property, has invited back-up from CBP, ICE and other DHS agencies to Portland to protect the Hatfield federal courthouse and other buildings.
Deputy marshals in recent weeks have shot a “less-lethal” munition at a protester’s head, causing serious injury, and beat a U.S. Navy veteran, resulting in a broken hand and a viral video of the beating.
DHS personnel have been faulted for multiple reported instances of detaining protesters and driving them them away without formally arresting them, spurring due process concerns.
This post has been updated.
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