Portland rioters barricaded federal law enforcement agents inside a federal courthouse as they tried to set the building ablaze amid ongoing violent protests in the Democrat-controlled city, according to a report.
The Washington Examiner reports:
The attack on the Hatfield Federal Courthouse began after 10 p.m. local time after more than 1,000 people gathered downtown. Some became violent. The attackers blocked the entrances to the courthouse, preventing the special DHS forces inside from easily getting out. Some federal officers escaped and tried to repel those vandalizing the outside of the courthouse but were beamed in the eye by lasers, which can cause temporary and long-term blindness.
Other rioters then installed wooden boards on the outside of the courthouse entrance to prevent the rest of the DHS officials from leaving, while others tried to break down the doors.
A federal official wrote in an email obtained by Examiner reporter Anna Giaritelli:
Around midnight rioters attempted to set the courthouse on fire, as they have done numerous times before. They also threw smoke bombs into the flames causing the interior of the courthouse to fill with smoke. In response, a team of federal officers was forced to leave the building, taking one individual into custody. When they did, a rioter threw a bag filled with hard objects at officers.
On Wednesday evening, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) joined demonstrators in the protest area, where he was jeered and hit with tear gas by federal agents. Wheeler, flanked by the police commissioner, said he would attend the protest in solidarity against federal law enforcement. “The reason I am here tonight is to stand with you,” the mayor said, as quoted by The Oregonian. “If they’re launching the tear gas against you, they’re launching the tear gas against me.” While addressing protesters, Wheeler decried President Trump’s crackdown on rioters an “egregious overreaction” and accused him of engaging in “urban warfare.”
This week, Wheeler joined the mayors of Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., Seattle, and Kansas City in calling for the Trump administration to remove federal agents directed to combat ongoing crime. The Portland mayor accused the president of “attacking progressive cities with a classic ‘divide and conquer’ tactics.”
On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he would expand the Justice Department program known as Operation Legend to Chicago as the Democrat-controlled city suffers from a crime wave.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after more than a dozen people were injured in a shooting at a funeral in Chicago on Tuesday night.
Trump on Wednesday said he had “no choice but to get involved” by sending federal officers to the cities.
“This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.”
On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that she would push back against efforts to send federal officers to the city.
The UPI contributed to this report.