Billy Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, and Russ Burger, U.S. Marshal for the District of Oregon, released a statement on Wednesday rejecting calls for them to cancel the cross-deputation of local and state police officers.
Members of Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team were deputized as Federal Marshals in September so rioters can be federally charged with attacking a federal officer and be charged with federal crimes.
At 9:00 A.M. this morning, members of @PortlandPolice Rapid Response Team were deputized as Federal Marshals. This will allow federal prosecutors to charge allegations of assault on a federal officer to anyone who attacks Officers-https://t.co/1pUrFr4Brr pic.twitter.com/iP1ZG6X1Nc— Oregon State Police (@ORStatePolice) September 26, 2020
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) and other city officials have called for the cross-deputation to be undone since it is slated to last for the rest of the year and they were under the impression it was only to last for a few days, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
I’m in full agreement with the Mayor that the deputization of our officers needs to be rescinded and I would ask that until that happens those officers not be out responding to the protests. Portlanders have been clear: we don’t need more deputized officers; we need de-escalation https://t.co/jyZAQzAR7K— Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty (@JoAnnPDX) September 30, 2020
"The U.S. Marshal will not cancel the cross-deputation of local and state law enforcement officers. Law enforcement and law-abiding citizens of Portland have endured months of nightly criminal violence and destruction. Officers have been repeatedly assaulted with bottles, bats, sledgehammers, lasers, rocks, and other weapons of convenience," the statement said.
"In addition, the public has seen repeated efforts by criminals to burn down public buildings. These violent, senseless, and criminal acts have no bearing on social justice. They only serve to exacerbate lawlessness in this city. Federal cross-deputation of Oregon State Police, Multnomah County Sheriff and Portland Police Bureau personnel underscores the importance of providing accountability and deterrence for these criminal acts," their statement continued, noting "the federal deputation supports front line law enforcement officers and their families in a way that they have not seen from City Hall."
Williams and Burger said "Portlanders, and Oregonians in general are sick of the boarded-up and dangerous conditions prevalent in downtown Portland due to a lack of leadership."