DOJ Considered Criminally Charging Portland Officials for Protest Violence
FEDERALISM IN ACTION
The Department of Justice has explored bringing criminal or civil-rights charges against Portland city officials, a revelation that highlights the discord between the Trump administration and state and local governments in handling violence related to nationwide protests against systemic racism. In July, the city had ordered its police to stand down as hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the federal courthouse, officials were told. Portland police were also told not to assist Department of Homeland Security agents after the city council voted against federal cooperation. Spokesperson Kerri Kupec confirmed the department had done research on the possibility of pursuing charges, but declined to comment if or when charges would be brought. DOJ officials have previously disputed reports that Attorney General William Barr told its civil rights prosecutors to determine whether or not it could prosecute Seattle’s mayor for allowing protesters to create an “autonomous zone” in its downtown.