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Statement from Rep. Peter DeFazio on Ongoing Clashes Between Protesters and Law Enforcement Officers Across Oregon

Jul 30, 2020
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today released the following statement on the ongoing clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers across Oregon:

“The actions of federal agents in Oregon over the past few weeks—made at the direction of President Trump—are those of an authoritarian regime, not an open democracy.

“By defying the demands of state and local officials to leave, policing with unmarked federal agents, neglecting to read people their rights, detaining Americans without cause, and brutalizing and targeting peaceful protesters, it’s clear to me that the Trump administration is trampling on our Constitution and using Oregonians as props to bolster his own failing re-election efforts.

“I applaud Governor Brown’s successful negotiation with the federal government to remove federal agents from Portland and have the local police provide law enforcement for federal buildings.

“I also strongly denounce the actions of a small group of anarchists and other destructive individuals in Portland and Eugene who have used the cover of legitimate lawful protest to sow destruction and division. These individuals are distracting from the important efforts made by the peaceful protestors to highlight the ongoing systemic racism present in our community. Those individuals should be separated and arrested so that the peaceful protesters can continue to exercise their First Amendment rights.

“We’ve seen a number of clashes between protestors and police, as recently as last night in the Thurston neighborhood of Springfield and in Eugene, demonstrating the need to continue our work toward dismantling systemic racism and truly delivering equality to Black Americans and other people of color.

“It will be impossible as a country to become a more perfect union until we have a real leader that has the strength to meet this moment of reckoning, work to address the wounds of racial injustice, and bring Americans together. The president has abjectly failed to do this, instead only further stoking tensions between a divided nation.”