Federal Law Enforcement and the Portland Protests: Legal Considerations [July 31, 2020] [open pdf - 646KB]
From the Document: "During the spring and summer of 2020, protests in response to the death of George Floyd erupted in major cities across the country. Responding to a perceived failure by state and local officials to control the protests, President Trump threatened to take action by, for example, deploying the military into cities to restore order. Recently, in the midst of ongoing protests in Portland, Oregon, the Trump Administration deployed hundreds of agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Although, according to some, the Portland protests were largely nonviolent, DHS reported numerous instances of what it terms 'violent anarchists' committing crimes against federal property, justifying the presence of federal officers. Reports of unidentified federal law enforcement officers detaining protestors and transporting them in unmarked vehicles escalated tensions between local officials and the Trump administration. The federal law enforcement presence in Portland comes after federal agents were used to respond to similar protests in Washington, DC. [...] This Sidebar discusses the general legal authorities relied on by DHS to allow for the federal presence in Portland and explores the potential legal questions raised by the presence of federal law enforcement in Portland, including the constitutional implications of the various tactics used by the federal officers."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10529
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/