ICE Officers Demand Liberal Mayor Give Up Control of Police


This hitting where it hurts.

When the Democratic Party and its leftist base essentially declared war against Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this year — in response to false media reports and disagreements with President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies — the city of Portland, Oregon, effectively became ground zero for the months-long partisan battle that ensued.

Leftist protesters encamped themselves for weeks outside of an ICE facility in Portland, forming blockades to prevent the entrance and exit of agents and getting into multiple violent clashes with federal riot cops, all while the Portland police seemed to stand aside and allow the federal facility to continue to be besieged, apparently at the direction of the city’s liberal mayor.

The Washington Times reported that the National ICE Council, the union that represents ICE agents, has formally requested federal and state investigations into the potentially criminal actions and directives of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

The union also demanded Wheeler relinquish his control of the police department in the meantime.

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The council sent letters to both U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum asserting that Wheeler, by virtue of an alleged “stand down” order issued to the Portland Police Bureau, had violated a state law prohibiting “official misconduct.”

The letters also accused Wheeler, a Democrat, of violating the civil rights of ICE employees by refusing to provide them with city services they were due, specifically police protection against violent rioters illegally encamped on or near federal property.

The news of the letters caused a stir in the Oregon news media.

“Instead of faithfully executing his oath of office and pledge to support the constitutions of the United States and Oregon, as well as the laws of Portland, Mayor Wheeler chose to leave his fellow citizens to fend for themselves for over a month against a lawless mob, which included violent militant groups,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, The Washington Times reported.

Indeed, Wheeler has been openly supportive of the anti-ICE protesters while issuing harsh criticism of the federal agents doing their job. He’s also suggested that federal law enforcement officials are solely responsible for enforcing the law on federal property.

Internal emails and texts obtained by the ICE council also showed that Wheeler had instructed the Portland police to take a decidedly “hands-off” approach to the lengthy protest, and ordered them to respond to 911 calls and intervene only in cases where “lives are in danger,” The Washington Times reported.

The documents further revealed that the police interpreted that directive as a prohibition against their ability to “proactively patrol” the protest, and a mandate to ignore all but the most serious of 911 calls to come from those targeted and harassed by the verbally abusive and violent protesters.

That should be unacceptable for police officers, wrote council attorney Sean J. Riddell, in the letter to Rosenblum.

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“If a rank-and-file police officer was presented with an on-going crime for 30 days and did not take appropriate action, that officer would be placed on administrative leave and subject to an internal investigation,” he wrote.

The Oregonian reported that Riddell argued in the letter that Wheeler, as mayor and head of the police bureau, had a responsibility to enforce all state and local laws. In this case, that would include laws against disorderly conduct, harassment, rioting and unlawful camping.

Do you think the Portland mayor should be held accountable for the inaction of his police force against anti-ICE protesters?

Riddell’s letter, according to The Oregonian, accused Wheeler of ordering police officers to stand down in order “to advance his own personal political agenda, advance his political career and punish citizens he perceived to hold alternative political beliefs.”

Riddell further cited a state statute that defined official misconduct as a public servant knowingly failing to perform the duties of their office, and insisted that Wheeler temporarily relinquish his role as police commissioner for the duration of any investigation into the matter at hand.

“Our hope is that Mr. Wheeler relinquishes his supervisory authority of the Portland Police Bureau pending the outcome of your investigation,” Riddell wrote Rosenblum.

Wheeler was provided with copies of the letters, and responded with an outraged statement that accused the federal agents as being partisan and questioned Riddell’s credibility.

“Make no mistake. They are coming after me because I am a vocal opponent of the administration’s policy of separating kids from their parents,” the statement said, according to The Oregonian. “Previous claims made by Sean Riddell have fallen apart upon further inspection and these claims, if investigated, will too.”

A spokeswoman for the Oregon attorney general said the letter had been received and was under review, The Washington Times reported. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon referred all questions to the Justice Department in Washington, according to The Oregonian.

To be sure, limited-government conservatives are generally quite leery of the federal government intervening in local law enforcement matters, and for good reason.

However, in this case an intervention may prove justifiable, as the titular head of a local law enforcement agency appears to have gone out of his way to not only ignore violations of state and federal laws, but to also impede the capabilities of both his own officers and federal agents to do their jobs in protecting citizens and the community from violent lawbreakers.

And the ICE officers are hitting back.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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