Trump administration sending more federal officers to protect Portland courthouse from rioters

Police respond to protesters during a demonstration Friday

Trump administration sending more federal officers to protect Portland courthouse from rioters

Talks with the governor's office are in early stages and there is no agreement, the White House official told the AP on condition of anonymity.

Just a day earlier, the U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security were weighing whether to send in more agents.

The city Bureau of Transportation filed a cease and desist order over the fence, which obstructs a downtown street, and is assessing the federal government $500 for every 15 minutes that it remains in place, Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said Tuesday.

Brown didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was tear gassed in a crowd last week, was one of six mayors who penned a letter on Monday asking Congress to pass legislation to block the Trump administration from deploying federal law enforcement to cities without local leaders' consent.

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Anti-racism protests in Portland have turned violent and some were declared riots by local police, while over 20 federal agents sent to the city have reportedly been injured. Protesters in Los Angeles clashed with officers in front of the city's federal courthouse downtown.

The motion also asks that each federal officer who violated the restraining order be identified and required to appear in court, and calls for a complete ban on federal officers' use of lethal or "less lethal" weapons in Oregon.

Oregon's U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams told The Oregonian newspaper recently that the federal government will not abandon any of the federal buildings in Portland, adding that until what he said were "violent extremists" end their siege of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, they can expect resistance from federal agents.

Officials in Portland, Oregon, said that the federal government owes the city almost $200,000 over a federal courthouse fence that's become the scene of nightly protests. Moreover, the group claims Chad Wolf's long-term as acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary runs counter to the legal requirement for Senate confirmation of federal department heads.

Eudaly has been a prominent part of the chorus of criticism of federal agents by Portland politicians.

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But the mayors said the officers have patrolled areas distant from the federal properties and arrested citizens without cause.

The plaintiffs allege that the conduct of those federal agents, including away from the federal courthouse they were sent to protect, suggests they were actually carrying out a different DHS policy: "to intimidate and silence protesters due to their message".

The administration made no comment in the wake of the lawsuit. They want what they described as a "cease-fire and removal of heightened federal forces from Portland".

"The city transport office is fining Uncle Sam "$500 for every 15 minutes" the path has been blocked since a fence was set up February 22 outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland.

Protesters have tried nearly every night to tear down a fence erected to protect the building, set fires in the street and hurled fireworks, Molotov cocktails and bricks, rocks and bottles at the agents inside.

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Lemire reported from Washington.

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