Federal Agents that had been assigned to protect the Federal Courthouse in Portland handed over protection duties to Oregon State Police in a move to ease tension between the state and the US Department of Justice. The USDOJ and Oregon officials made a deal to remove the agents, after local and state administrators made the agreement to send in State Troopers to take the place of the Agents; this was done because state and local administration felt that the presence of the Federal Agents were making matters in the City worse, and their stepping down would ease tensions amongst protesters. The move began on July 29, with the move to be completed within about a week.
As of now, even after the Feds departure, the riotous behavior continues, marking day 75, although the focus has changed from the Federal Courthouse to other buildings, and local and state law enforcement. Local officials report that the crowd sizes have decreased as a result of the Fed departure, however riots continue.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf tweeted Monday that since Federal Agents withdrew from the courthouse, local and State Police had declared twelve official riots.
Police precinct buildings, and police association buildings have become the latest targets, and police continue to be assaulted with bottles, bricks, and commercial fireworks.
In one incident, rioters tried to lock officers inside a precinct building, and catch the building on fire, prompting Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued this statement: “When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder. According to local news stations, in addition to setting the fire, rioters shot fireworks at officers, broke doors and destroyed security cameras on the building.
The following night, the rioters attempted to break into the precinct building again, and started a fire outside of it when they were unable to light one inside. Additionally, rioters threw bottles and rocks at officers, injuring at least one officer, and they damaged several police cars. See press release .
On Saturday night, police report the rioters hit the Portland Police Union building; pushing dumpsters into the road to block traffic, setting a trash dumpster on fire, spray painting the building, and they destroyed security cameras on the building. See police release.
Mayor Wheeler had attended a protest before the Federal pull-out, over the displeasure protesters and City Officials had with Federal Agents being at the courthouse. That protest grew violent, and Agents dispersed tear gas into a crowd when portion of the crowd began pushing against a security fence. Mayor Wheeler was seen wearing goggles and a mask as he stood in the crowd as the gas was deployed.