What a generous offer. It’s the job of state police to patrol against all crime in the state. The fact that the target of the criminals might be the federal government does not mean it’s not the state’s job to enforce the law.
But that’s not how state and local officials – at least if they’re Democrats – have seen it since Donald Trump has been president. It was nearly two years ago that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler ordered his police department not to help as mobs attacked the Portland office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Wheeler said ICE was “on the wrong track” in terms of policy and, as he saw it, that meant they weren’t entitled to police protection against attacks from violent criminals.
Both the city of Portland and the state of Oregon took the same stance with respect to the current mob violence against federal facilities there. It’s not their job to defend properties of the federal government, they argued. Besides (not that they’ll say this) they agree with and support the mob. They want the federal buildings damaged and/or destroyed because Donald Trump leads the federal government and they hate him.
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So fine, if state and local law enforcement aren’t going to enforce the law when the target of criminals is the federal government, than federal law enforcement will show up to enforce it. That, of course, has inspired the Democrat/media complex to have a collective cow. But the feds were not about the back down. When federal courthouses are being looted and set on fire, and local and state law enforcement refuse to do anything about it, federal law enforcement isn’t leaving.
Apparently Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wants the feds gone more than she wants the courthouse destroyed, so yesterday she caved:
Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday that the Oregon State Police will patrol Portland’s streets and guard the Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, which has been under violent attack by left-wing protesters. Federal law enforcement will let the state police take the lead, but the surge of officers will remain in the city “until we are assured that the courthouse and other federal facilities will no longer be attacked nightly and set on fire,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.
Federal law is clear that DHS has the authority to use its agents to protect federal property. State and local police have so far failed to do that job in Portland. Amid some eight weeks of protest, rioters have started fires, bludgeoned and assaulted federal officers, used commercial-grade fireworks as weapons, and deployed saws and power tools in an attempt to break into the courthouse.
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It’s not just buildings that are under assault, lest anyone try to pull the “people over buildings” argument with you. The rioters have inflicted more than 200 injuries upon federal law enforcement agents. Three of them may be blind for life.
Despite the support the rioters receive from the likes of Brown, Wheeler and Jerrold Nadler, the law is the law. The federal government is under no obligation to sit idly by while its assets – human or structural – are under attack.
DHS has agreed to withdraw from Portland, on the condition that the Oregon State Police actually do the job they’ve said they’re willing to do. If federal facilities come under attack again and the State Police fail (or refuse) to protect them, DHS agents will be back.
The media are treating this as a “retreat by Trump,” but it’s nothing of the sort. It’s the federal government giving Oregon one last chance to do its job and enforce the law. And Oregon will be on a short leash, as it deserves to be given its recent history. There is little reason to believe officials in Oregon and/or Portland are on the side of the law and not on the side of the lawbreakers.