In Portland, 'It's Like Stop and Frisk Meets Guantanamo Bay'

Protesters accuse federal officers in unmarked vehicles of making unlawful arrests
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2020 10:56 AM CDT
In Portland, 'It's Like Stop and Frisk Meets Guantanamo Bay'
In this June 30, 2020, file photo, police stand in front of protesters gathered outside Portland Police Union headquarters in Portland, Ore.   (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP, File)

Protesters in Portland, Oregon, say unidentified federal agents dressed in camouflage have been driving around in unmarked minivans and grabbing people off the streets. The US Marshals Special Operations Group and the Border Patrol Tactical Unit have been sent to Portland to protect federal property. But protesters describe being detained well away from federal property, where nothing is happening, per KPTV. Local accounts and videos suggest this has been happening since at least Tuesday, reports Oregon Public Broadcasting. Two men told the outlet they were headed home from a peaceful protest early Wednesday when an unmarked minivan pulled up and four or five men jumped out. "It was just like, 'Oh s---. I don't know who you are or what you want with us,'" says Conner O'Shea, who ran and started filming.

"I'm recording this," he says in the video. "I had to let somebody know that this is what happens." Companion Mark Pettibone tells OPB he was "basically tossed into the van." At that point, "I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head." Pettibone says he was taken to the federal courthouse, searched, placed in a cell, then released after asking for a lawyer. He says he wasn't given a reason for his arrest or any record of it. "I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland." Federal authorities dispute that Pettibone was arrested but did not answer questions about the tactics being used to detain people. Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown have called for federal officers to leave the city. This is "a blatant abuse of power," says Brown. "It's like Stop and Frisk meets Guantanamo Bay," adds Juan Chavez, a civil rights attorney. (More Portland, Oregon stories.)

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