Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan is backing the call for the continued presence of federal agents inside Portland, Ore.
In an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s “America This Week” on Wednesday, Morgan said the city leaders of Portland, rocked by more than three months of racial justice protests and unrest, “need to accept law enforcement to stop this.”
CBP agents were deployed to Portland in July to secure a federal courthouse along with other elements of the Department of Homeland Security. In the time that agents were there, they were accused of using excessive force against protesters and further aggravating the civil unrest.
“There was violence already happening before CPB and federal agents went there for support… we went there, we saw the violence still happening week after week after week,” he said.
“We sent our law enforcement personnel to specifically and narrowly protect the [federal] courthouse,” he added, but said, “even though we have relocated our resources away from the courthouse the violence continues.”
“We’ve been asking the mayor and governor of Oregon to send in the national guard. That’s what’s needed here,” he declared.
"They need to accept federal assistance. They need to accept the National Guard coming in to stop this," Morgan said. "But we have leaders that are not doing their job ... to stop this violence and restore law and order."
He insisted CBP agents “weren't there patrolling the streets,” but rather to protect federal property and respond to incidents where federal agents were assaulted. "Our focus was very narrow,” he said.
In recent weeks, CBP agents have moved away from the courthouse to other parts of the city, and the Justice Department has gotten involved to respond to the "violence" and "antifa-like tactics," Morgan said.
"Other federal agencies — like the FBI and the United States Marshals, ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] — they have federal jurisdiction if there are, in fact, federal crimes being committed, which we are seeing in Portland," he said. "And they are there now. They are involved."
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