18:37 GMT03 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US law enforcement chiefs need to explain the activities of unidentified federal personnel in Portland, Oregon, during the protests there, 114 members of the House of Representatives wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Wednesday.

    “The deployment of roving units of the secret police under the control of the President is an absolute affront to the Bill of Rights, which vests inviolable civil rights and liberties in the people and core police powers in the states - not a tyrannical and overweening federal government”, the letter said on Wednesday.

    US Congressmen Jamie Raskin, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici led the 114 House members in demanding information from Barr and Wolf about the unidentified federal law enforcement personnel deployed in Portland over the objections of state and local officials.

    The lawmakers expressed concern that no US city or town would be safe from what they characterized as “dubious tactics” and that the earlier deployment of federal law enforcement officers may have been a dry run for such activities in other cities in the United States.

    "Reports indicate that at least four federal law enforcement agencies have now deployed forces - including undercover officers - to Portland, Oregon to monitor and quell protests without coordination or communication with local officials or law enforcement", the letter said.

    The newly deployed officers are in camouflage uniforms with no badge or insignia denoting their agency or identity and they are unidentifiable and therefore remain unaccountable for any violations of citizens’ constitutional rights, the letter added.

    Earlier on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump announced during a press conference that his administration will "surge" federal law enforcement officers in Chicago and other cities in the United States plagued by violent crime.

    Barr said during the same press conference that about 200 federal law enforcement officers will be sent to Chicago and 35 others to Albuquerque. The US Attorney General added that more than 200 federal officers are already operating in Kansas City.

    According to Barr, the federal officers will differ from the tactical teams used to defend against mob violence, such as in Portland, where 114 federal officers are protecting a federal courthouse from being overtaken.

    Tags:
    riot police, William Barr, United States
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