Duckworth said there were plenty of other ways for federal law enforcement agencies to work with local officials to make cities safer and allow peaceful protests “without federal troops coming in in unmarked vehicles and kidnapping peaceful protesters off the streets, throwing them into an unmarked van and driving off in the middle of the night.”
She was referring to video footage and reports documenting unidentified federal officers detaining protesters off the streets and placing them in unmarked vans in Portland, which drew wide condemnation from civil liberties advocates and local officials.
“If President Trump truly wants to go after violence in our country, he should call [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell right now and ask for a sensible vote on uniform background checks,” Duckworth said.
In Portland, protests that began in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police continued for a 66th night, though things have been relatively calm since federal officers left their post at the federal courthouse three nights ago.
Elsewhere in the city, a couple hundred protesters marched from a park, blocking traffic on East Burnside Street, police said. Some shined bright lights and lasers at officers and threw glass bottles at them, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Videos from the scene show protesters chanting “I don’t see no riot here, take off your riot gear” as police advanced. A police official boomed over a loudspeaker that the “event has been deemed an unlawful assembly,” and police said they made two arrests after the declaration. Police also said they slashed the tires of a car moving slowly in front of them to “remove the hazard the car presented.”