The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday defended the use of federal law enforcement to protect a courthouse in Portland, Ore., where demonstrators have recently clashed with federal law officers as local leaders are demanding the officers leave the city.
“DHS is not going to back down from our responsibilities. We are not escalating, we are protecting,” Chad Wolf, acting secretary of Homeland Security, told “Fox & Friends.”
“At the end of the day, we’re going to do our job. We’re not going to apologize for it. We’re going to do it professionally and we’re going to do it correctly,” Wolf said.
The claim comes a day after a viral video showed federal officers savagely beating a Navy veteran with batons and dousing him with pepper spray.
Federal police strike protester with baton, use pepper spray and tear gas outside courthouse in Portland pic.twitter.com/VX2xTVaaYq
— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) July 19, 2020
Chris David, 53, said the incident left him with a broken knuckle and two broken fingers.
David, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland after high school, and later serving with the Navy Seabees while becoming a commissioned officer and aeronautical engineer, said he arrived around 8 p.m. and was just planning on leaving when federal officers burst out of the bricked-up front of the courthouse around 10:45 p.m. He said he slowly approached the officers, hoping to engage them in dialogue.
“I felt these gentlemen were violating their oath of office, and I wanted to talk to them,” he explained.
That’s when officers began beating him.
Days earlier, another viral video showed federal officers in camouflage beating and shoving medics who were rendering aid to an injured protester to the ground on the streets of Portland.
Stop what you're doing. This is Portland tonight. These are MEDICS. We need answers, NOW.
What the FUCK is going on in Portland? pic.twitter.com/jO80Ymp2Sm
— 🦋🌸ᗰᗴᒪᎥᔕᔕᗩ🌸🦋 (@MeliMels99) July 17, 2020
Oregon’s governor has criticized President Trump for “deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland,” and Portland’s mayor is decrying a “heightened troop presence” by federal officials in that city, calling it a “coordinated strategy from the White House.”
In another unprovoked attack, an Oregon man named Donavan LaBella was shot in the head with a less-lethal impact weapon during a protest outside of the Portland courthouse on July 12, The Oregonian reported. He was hit by a munition fired by a federal officer while holding a speaker over his head, according to the newspaper.
cw: headshot w/ impact munition
PORTLAND, 11-Jul: Federal police deliberately shoot Donavan LaBella in the head with an impact munition as he stands still holding a speaker over his head.
He was rushed to the hospital with severe facial and skull fractures. [📸 Drew Hernandez]. pic.twitter.com/P5weqMcUdh
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) July 12, 2020