#PortlandKidnappings: Portland Police gives 5 minutes to remove barricades, Internet says it's wildly disturbing
On July 17, demonstrators gathered at the Justice Center in the city barricading the building in a stand against the ‘unlawful’ arrests by federal agents
#PortlandKidnappings has been trending on Twitter following a video that went viral on social media on July 16. It depicted officers patrolling in unmarked vehicles, snatching protesters off the street, and driving off without an explanation. On July 17, demonstrators gathered at the Justice Center in the city barricading the building in a stand against the ‘unlawful’ arrests by federal agents.
As the crowds amassed, Portland Police tweeted: “The event downtown has been deemed an unlawful assembly. People gathering around the Justice Center are interfering with the operations of both government and county facilities.” In a consequent tweet, it added: “Participants have 5 minutes to remove all barricades around the facility. Failure to follow this direction may subject you to arrest, citation, or use of force including crowd control munitions. Leave the area to the west. SW Columbia to SW Taylor from SW 1st to 6th is closed.”
The police department’s tweets raised the ire of Twitter users, who instantly fired back at them. “Oh yeah 5 minutes is definitely enough time for thousands and thousands of protestors to remove barriers and disperse. Are you actively trying to turn people against you? Cause that’s the way to do it”, a user stated. “You are counting to 10 like a parent does for a 5 year old. Van up all the Commies. All of them. The country will view you as heros,” another added. “You have been blocking traffic, The feds and us police, So now we’ve come to chase you off And then block off the streets,” a user sarcastically wrote. One twitter user also live-streamed the protests that showed hoards of people gathered around the Justice Center and chanting slogans.
A leaked CBP memo obtained by the news publication, The Nation, confirming that the Border Patrol was responsible for the arrests circulated around social media, and gave rise to #PortlandKidnappings. Twitter users had a whole lot to say about the 'kidnappings' and condemned the police and the President in a series of tweets tagged #PortlandKidnappings. "This is wildly wildly disturbing. CUSTOMS and BORDER patrol are not supposed to be deployed at will, especially against local and state representatives' wishes, to be Trump's personal police that aren't subject to normal law LE's already limited oversight! #PortlandKidnappings," a user wrote in a tweet. "To be clear, Trump has dispatched 'secret police' to #Portland. They’re showing up in unmarked military vehicles & kidnapping protesters. In the United States of America," said higher education lawyer and activist, Johnathan S Perkins. "Remember when we said Trump would be completely unleashed after Republicans failed to remove him? Welp", he added.
"Donald Trump and DHS are refusing to leave as ordered by Oregon State. This is occupation of a state by federal government. Trump is starting a war. And on the day hero John Lewis died. Disgusting Trump! #PortlandProtest #PortlandKidnappings", another user said. "If you say that the govt telling ppl to wear masks is tyranny, but you have nothing to say when unidentified & masked agents of an undisclosed govt agency grab people off the streets & take them away in unmarked cars, then you're a hypocrite, plain & simple. #portlandkidnappings", a user commented. "Straight out of the authoritarian playbook: plain clothes #USA government officials found to be snatching protesters off the streets in #PortlandOregon #PortlandKidnappings" another user concurred.
Naveed Jamali, author and commentator on national security, tweeted a conversation about Portland he’d had with an FBI agent who told him, “These aren’t investigators they’re not even agents. All they do is transport fugitives and deport illegal immigrants. It’s not even police work." The agent added: "This is a charade of the worse kind. Federal investigators are very good at taking on complex and large-scale investigation. So what are these camo’ed people doing? It’s an embarrassment.”
In view of this conversation, Jamali said, "I think the agents point was that these agents don’t really have experience conducting an investigation. They are tactical agents who 'transport prisoners,' and have little to no exp beyond that. So they are supremely unqualified to handle an investigation — they’re door kickers."
He also theorized that this could be a political move on the part of Trump so more people can vote for him in the November elections. "Which is why the idea of an 'investigation' is a sham. These guys are here to escalate and to make it seem, to Trumps base, that BLM is violent and to scare people into voting for him," Jamali added.