The federal agents deployed in Portland, Ore., were not specifically trained in riot control or managing protests, an internal Department of Homeland Security memo warned this week.
The message was prepared for Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, as he arrived in Portland on Thursday, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Times. Without markings or identification, agents have seized and detained protesters, patrolled the streets in unmarked vans and unleashed tear gas.
The extraordinary use of federal force, billed as an attempt to tamp down weeks of persistent unrest and protect government property, has shown the department’s broad legal authority to crack down on American citizens. Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon has called the response “a blatant abuse of power.”