WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. Legislature asked the internal watchdogs for the Justice and Homeland Security departments to introduce an investigation into whether they have “abused emergency authorities” in order to validate targeting tranquil protesters recently in Portland, Oregon.
In a joint letter to the inspectors general for the 2 departments, lawmakers said they were concerned that Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf were using federal agents to “suppress First Amendment secured activities in Washington, D.C., Portland and other neighborhoods.”
Inspectors basic sit inside executive branch agencies, having a distinct responsibility to report their findings to both Congress and agency heads.
Agents for Justice and Homeland Security and their inspector general offices did not instantly respond to ask for talk about the Democrats’ letter.
The letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.
” This refers utmost urgency,” they composed. “People are worried that the Administration has released a secret police, not to investigate criminal offenses, however to intimidate individuals it views as political enemies.”
The crackdown in the liberal bastion of Portland drew extensive criticism and legal challenges as videos surfaced reuters.com/article/us-global-race-protests-portland/u-s-swoops-down-on-portland-protesters-after-trump-order-to-protect-monuments-idUSKCN24 I2W5 of camouflage-clad officers without clear recognition badges utilizing force and unmarked vehicles to detain protesters without description.
Oregon’s governor and Portland’s mayor, both Democrats, called the move an abuse of power by the federal government and the state filed a suit versus the U.S. companies included.
The U.S. lawyer for the District of Oregon has actually likewise asked for an examination by the Homeland Security inspector general, and asked the Justice Department’s internal watchdog to examine the U.S. Marshals Service use of “less-lethal munitions.”
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Extra reporting by David Lawder; Modifying by Nick Zieminski and Peter Cooney