Cities under Siege

Like so many of you, I was a little alarmed to hear Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to detain protesters in Portland, Oregon. I know Portland is a long way from where I am, but I’ve lived long enough to know if they’ll do that to them, then they’ll do that to you.

Part of me wanted to believe they were protecting small businesses from being looted, but after the report of Donavan LaBella being shot in the head with a “less-lethal” munition– fracturing his face and skull with no apparent apology, I had to accept this was something far more sinister.

This string of events continues the narrative of police brutality at police brutality protests. It’s very easy to see incidents recorded on mobile phone video of unarmed protesters who are not looting businesses or destroying federal property brutalized by men dressed in military camouflage. While Portland government officials are adamantly calling for an end to these tactics, it’s hard to believe this is making the situation better.

Even if the debate is taken out of the political realm, if you’re familiar with Portland’s Wall of Moms, these women are risking their bodies to protect Portland’s young peaceful protestors, so it’s hard to give the administration’s urgency and therefore justification much merit.

At protest for George Floyd in downtown Chicago

Is Chicago Next?

There have been rumblings the administration may take this act to the city of Chicago next. It’s speculation, but if the President says, “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job,” it’s hard to rule it out. This is a bit of a 180 for the many of us who remember his “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” tweet when armed protesters entered the Michigan statehouse over two months ago.

This is shaping up to be a potential feud between police unions and police departments. It is police union leaders who are inviting this mayhem disguised as federal assistance. It is police departments, who are much more accountable to taxpayers and voters, who are sending a very different signal.

For example, the Chicago Police Department released the following statement Monday, July 20:

“If federal agents are deployed, it is critical that they coordinate with the Chicago Police Department and work alongside us to fight violent crime in Chicago.”

Lastly, I probably also should not fail to mention so far this administration has not managed to decrease the violent crime total any lower than Eric Holder could, and Holder did not have to use these tactics to achieve it.


  1. Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets. Last accessed: 7/20/2020.
  2. Federal Officers Shoot Portland Protester In Head With ‘Less Lethal’ Munitions. Last accessed: 7/20/2020.
  3. Coronavirus: Armed protesters enter Michigan statehouse. Last accessed: 7/22/2020.
  4. Trump expected to send new federal force to Chicago this week to battle violence, but plan’s full scope is a question mark. Last accessed: 7/22/2020.
  5. ‘Wall of Moms’ shields protesters from federal agents in Portland. Last accessed: 7/22/2020.


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