Tags: Trump Administration | federal law enforcement | cities

Federal Law Enforcement Do Not Need Mayors' OK to Protect Americans

agent behind a podium pointing at photos of markings on uniforms
Federal Protective Service Deputy Director of Operations Richard Cline points to markings worn by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security agents in Portland. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 23 July 2020 10:47 AM Current | Bio | Archive

President Trump is receiving criticism from the media and some local politicians for deploying federal law enforcement officers to address widespread rioting and increased violent crime rates in cities led by Democra-majorities. Media reporting of this criticism has led to a false belief that civilian federal law enforcement officers require some type of invitation from local officials to conduct their duties within a city, a belief which is completely false. This reporting has led to the conflation of civilian federal law enforcement officers with the military, with little attempt by the media to correct this false notion.

President Donald Trump's plan to deploy federal law enforcement are based on two simultaneous threats to American public safety. The first is to quell rioting and unlawful protests that have deprived American taxpayers residing in cities like Portland, Oregon. As federal facilities and monuments are the frequent targets of these rioters, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service and U.S. Marshals service have deputized a task force of federal agents to protect federal property and employees under title 40 of the U.S. code, section 1315.

The other deployment of Federal Law Enforcement, named "Operation LeGend" after 4-year old Kansas City murder victim LeGend Taliferro, is to deter what President Trump describes as a surge in unacceptable violence on the streets of numerous American cities. This deployment is led on the ground by U.S. attorneys who are utilizing federal statutes to help get street crime under control where local officials are clearly failing.

In doing so, federal agents are using statues under titles 8, 18 and 21 of the U.S. Code to arrest criminals also committing local crimes. Therefore, when federal agents arrest gangs on racketeering statutes, gun criminals on National Firearms Act (Brady) charges, immigration charges or drug traffickers for smuggling or other title 21 violations; there is and has never been any need to collaborate or get the permission of local officials to carry out their duties.

Even when examining protest-related offenses, federal law is not just violated when federal facilities or employees are targeted under title 40. It is already a federal crime to interfere with interstate commerce [by obstructing highways that trucks, working people and buses need to use], as well as obstructing traffic in and around national parks and monuments. It's also quite ironic that groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter are violating laws passed in the 1950s to target the Klu Klux Klan that prohibit the wearing of face coverings; as well as acts of sedition being committed by not just protesters, but the local politicians who "oppose by force the authority of the United States government; to prevent, hinder, or delay by force the execution of any law of the United States."

Portland's Mayor Ted Wheeler disagrees, telling reporters this week that the actions by federal law enforcement officials are "a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government," which Wheeler calls unconstitutional. The Oregon attorney general is asking a federal judge for a restraining order to prevent the federal agents from making any more arrests. City and state officials say the paramilitary personnel, apparently drawn from several federal law enforcement agencies but displaying no identification, are exacerbating tensions with protesters.  This assertion has been debunked, however, as numerous clips of the arrests by protesters clearly show arrests made by agents in tactical gear with either a badge worn around their neck or on their belt, and/or patches on their vests identifying them as law enforcement. 

This false narrative has caused groups like the Western States Center, the First Unitarian Church of Portland, two state representatives and an ACLU legal observer to file a lawsuit last Tuesday alleging that the federal government had violated protesters' 10th Amendment rights, which delineate the separation of powers between federal and state governments. The plaintiffs are requesting an injunction preventing federal law enforcement from engaging in policing activities except in the immediate vicinity of federal property or personnel. Such an injunction would allow exemptions for "imminent threats."

President Trump argues the additional law enforcement personnel are necessary because he claims local officials are "physically afraid" of the protesters, whom Trump characterizes as "anarchists."  In Portland and other U.S. cities, protests have continued nearly every day, along with vandalism, clashes with police officers and some looting. 

DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli acknowledged Friday to National Public Radio that federal agents used unmarked cars to pick up people in Portland, but said it was done to keep officers safe and away from crowds and to move detainees to a "safe location for questioning." In response, political figures like Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner have characterized these stops and arrests by lawfully sworn federal agents as "kidnapping" and has gone as far as threaten to prosecute agents operating in his city. While talking this radical message to his base, it's almost assured that even Krasner, who was a wealthy criminal defense lawyer before receiving over $1 million from George Soros to run for DA; knows that any such prosecutions would be a waste of time and taxpayer funds.  

President Trump, in recent comments at the White House and elsewhere, has been warning that the safety of America's cities will deteriorate if he loses this November's presidential election, accusing the Democrats of being soft on lawlessness. "If Joe Biden got in, the whole country will go to hell," Trump said to reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. 

What is becoming increasingly clear in the insanity that is the 2020 election year, is that local officials are seemingly willing to allow anarchy to reign in their cities to achieve political objectives. This makes no sense considering the economic and physical damage that they are inflicting to their own voter bases at the hands of endless protesters and violent criminals. To reject federal assistance in law enforcement, which was once welcomed in the fight for civil rights is ludicrous. One can only hope that American voters see past the distractions and support those who uphold the rule of law – both now and in November. 

A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his two and a half decade career on both sides the criminal justice system. Mannes served in both federal and municipal law enforcement in though the 9/11 attacks, D.C.-area sniper task force, homeland security exercises and natural disasters. Mannes' work in D.C. led to personal encounters with the D.C.'s unlawful personnel actions, unconstitutional gun laws and criminal justice inequalities, which led him to become an advocate for public integrity. Thereafter, Mannes served for nearly nine years as the Director, Office of Investigations for North America's largest medical board, as a Chief Compliance Officer, consultant, expert witness, nonprofit board member and political adviser. Read A. Benjamin Mannes' Reports — More Here.

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President Donald Trump's plan to deploy federal law enforcement are based on two simultaneous threats to American public safety.
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2020-47-23
Thursday, 23 July 2020 10:47 AM
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