ADL Expresses Grave Concern on Use of Federal Law Enforcement in Portland and Elsewhere

New York, NY, July 29, 2020 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today called on the Department of Homeland Security and the Trump Administration to immediately cease excessive, unilateral federal law enforcement operations in Portland, Oregon and urged members of Congress to hold hearings to probe allegations into the use of unwarranted force and dangerous tactics against protesters there.

ADL issued the following statement:

ADL has been working with law enforcement for decades to fight bigotry and hate. As one of the leading non-governmental organizations training federal, state, and local law enforcement on issues related hate crimes and extremist threats, we appreciate the Justice Department’s own inspector general investigation into use of force allegations involving DOJ law enforcement personnel in Portland, Oregon in July 2020, and urge the Department of Homeland Security inspector general to do the same.

Reports that federal law enforcement officers deployed in Portland have “proactively arrested” protesters, treating them in some circumstances like terrorists and employing dangerous tactics, are deeply troubling. As an organization committed to justice and fair treatment to all, we recognize that these allegations, if true, raise deeply troubling questions of law and public safety practice. These actions and recent statements of senior administration officials raise significant concerns that federal agents are being used in unprecedented ways that are violative of Americans’ civil rights and that constitute, not just ineffective, but dangerous law enforcement practices.

Additionally, former Bush Administration Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff publicly have criticized the use of federal law enforcement officers in Portland and other cities. In an era of rising extremism, ADL currently is working to curb these threats nation-wide through a range of programs and publicly available research and analysis. 

We call on the Trump Administration to immediately cease operations like those in Portland and to submit to Congressional hearings to disclose exactly what happened there. We urge the Department of Homeland Security not to bring these concerning tactics to new cities.  

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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