Acting DHS Sec. Says Due to Lack of Local Law Enforcement in Portland, Feds Must ‘Proactively Arrest Individuals’


Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that, because of purported lack of local law enforcement in Portland, DHS and other agents have had to “proactively arrest individuals” to protect federal facilities.

During an appearance on Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum, Wolf fired back at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who called out Wolf’s agency for brutally attacking peaceful protestors. The administration’s aggressive, militarized deployment of force in Portland — marked by snatch-and-grab tactics followed by abrupt release of those detained without any legal charges — has drawn vocal backlash from across the political spectrum. Portland’s mayor, who strongly opposed the federal sweeps of protestors in his city, called the police activity “very Un-American” on Monday.

“That’s an absolutely absurd statement,” Wolf said, dismissing Biden’s critique, before repeatedly implying that vandalism against and graffiti on federal buildings constituted “violence.”

“We have clear authority and have outlined that on numerous occasions, Department of Homeland Security protects almost 9,000 federal facilities across the country. They do that in Portland and Portland is the only city that we have this radical violence night after night,” Wolf said. “We are on our 52nd night of violence against the courthouse and other federal facilities and other law enforcement officers and I would say we don’t have this issue anywhere else because we have local law enforcement and officials working with us. Portland is different. And we are having to respond differently because of that. Work with us, we can quell this violence. We can bring this to a peaceful conclusion and allow those peaceful protesters who want to protest peacefully to do that. When it crosses the line into violence is when we have to take a stand.”

MacCallum then played video of vandals using sledgehammers to commit property destruction or spray paint politics messages on the buildings. “A message is a message and a message can be very powerful. But defacing public property is against the law, correct?” MacCallum asked, teeing up Wolf.

“Absolutely. Anytime that you attack a federal facility, that is a federal crime, attacking federal police officers and law enforcement officers which they have done for 52 nights in a row, is a federal crime,” Wolf claimed, before asserting a broad claim of power in detaining people. “Because we don’t have that local, that local law enforcement support, we are having to go out and proactively arrest individuals and we need to do that because we need to hold them accountable. This idea that we can attack federal property and law enforcement officers, and go to the other side of the street and say ‘You can’t touch me,’ is ridiculous. We don’t that in any other type of law enforcement, we pursue a criminal and investigate. We pull them over if we have probable cause, we charge them and we prosecute them. We need to hold individuals accountable and when we don’t do that I think we see what we see in Portland today.”

MacCallum then brought up a viral video from last Thursday, in which a protestor not shown breaking any laws is grabbed by camouflaged officers and then whisked away in an unmarked van. “So the camouflage officers are something that it’s gotten a lot of attention,” she noted. “They are not wearing badges or numbers, they are putting people into unmarked cars and that is getting a lot of negative attention for this action.”

“The video that you’re talking about the individuals. Those are U.S. Marshals that took place in that incident and I know the Department of Justice is certainly taking a look at that,”  Wolf said, before casting doubt on the story told by the video. “Anytime that you grab a few second of any one video, the one thing you don’t see is the video in the preceding minutes and the minutes after that.”

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

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