Federal Officers in Portland Debate: Necessary or Overreach?

Federal Officers in Portland Debate: Necessary or Overreach?

Portland, US
Portland, USA

When it comes to law enforcement and the Liberty Revolt, Bucky and Cole are divided on the issue.

That’s why we’ve decided to share our arguments on Trump sending federal agents to Portland – and let you be the judge.

Get at us on social media or in the comments with your two cents on this divisive issue – who knows, the future of the country may depend on it!

A Gross Federal Overreach all Conservatives should Decry – Cole’s Take

We’ve all seen it on the news, but differently depending on the agency: Portland is a mess (or only one part of it is and with good reason), and had been under siege for 47 days (or, the protesters have simply continued to exercise their 1st amendment rights until change comes along).

Federal Agents Portland
Photo Credit: Noah Berger

The locus of protestor anger has been federal property. Contentious as arguments on either side were, Donald J. Trump decided to do something about this. In passing an executive order protecting American monuments and statues, Trump has granted federal law enforcement agents broad powers to arrest or detain American citizens suspected of tampering with federal property.

One can’t exactly call out the federal government for enforcing its own laws to protect its own property. Indeed, any violation of federal law in the presence of federal law enforcement agents ought to result in arrest and due process. This is especially indisputable when the local police force has been legally disincentivized to contain rioting and violent behavior.

With this in mind, however, we must examine the tactical legitimacy of law enforcement (federal or local) in lieu of the US constitution. Conservatism at its core envokes the unassailable legitimacy of this document in the context of political argumentation; indeed, the best conservative arguments are nearly won before they’re enumerated by virtue of enshrining the sovereignty of this document.

Federal Agents, Portland
Photo Credit: Noah Berger

Local politicians and state actors who violate the constitution are rightly sued and often convicted. Violation of constitutional freedoms by the federal government should be taken more seriously because the potential range of such violations is far greater; platitudes for violating your rights in Wisconsin don’t carry over to Maryland unless they’re federally mandated.

Back to the question at hand, then: have federal officers in Portland violated the US Constitution?

The answer, according to most legal doctrinaires, is yes. The fourth amendment disallows unreasonable search and seizure of US citizens. This is buttressed by the fifth amendment which demands due process for those suspected of or charged with a crime.

Doubtless, the feds in Portland have made legitimate arrests. All available evidence shows that they’ve also engaged in the unconstitutional and arbitrary detention of citizens who weren’t suspected of nor charged with a crime. Videos have circulated of unidentifiable federal agents throwing people in unmarked vans.

Federal agents Portland

It’s since been confirmed that these are members of the United States Border Control Agency and that their own internal mandates do not legally require their uniforms or vehicles to be marked.

Reports have confirmed, however, that they’ve detained seemingly random citizens without:

A: identifying themselves

B: Reading the citizens their Miranda rights

C: Without reasonable suspicion of a committed crime

The furthest authority permitted by US courts of law for law enforcement amounts to a stop and frisk. An unconstitutional seizure has legally occurred when according to the Cornell article above linked, “…not all personal intercourse between policemen and citizens involves ‘seizures’ of persons,” and suggested that “[o]nly when the officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen may we conclude that a ‘seizure’ has occurred.”

There’s no doubt that using force to toss someone into a van and transporting them to a federal courthouse where no crimes are ascribed or suspicions validated amounts to unconstitutional seizures. The issue is already legally contended and will be taken to court.

And no, wearing black and a face mask at some late hour of the night does not make you Antifa. It does not make you a criminal, domestic terrorist, or anarchist. Looking like someone associated with rioters does not amount to reasonable suspicion of violating federal law.

Federal Agents, Portland
But I can respect why many would beg to differ…

I’m a constitutionalist. Rule of law as mandated by the constitution does not exempt anyone, especially the federal government (of whose power conservatives have always wanted to limit) from operating under constitutional law.

You don’t get to pick and choose who you castigate for violating the document from where our rights derive, period. If we ignore this most grievous instance of federal overreach, the arbitrary seizure, and detention of American citizens, we’re on track giving the feds power to grab anyone of us for any reason. Don’t forget that the Patriot Act grants the federal government broad access to all your communications. What’s to stop them from reading your emails, deeming you as a threat, and then snatching you off the street for intimidation purposes?

And by the way: it was Barack Obama who signed the NDAA back into law and gave factions of the US government the power to hold US citizens in military detention indefinitely.

Justice for all means just that. You don’t get to pick and choose who you defend. There’re violent anarchists and criminals among the protestors in Portland. It’s them the feds ought to be arresting. We must maintain the distinction between the A1-protected right to peaceful assembly and violent, law-breaking protesting even if we don’t like what those peacefully assembling have to say.

Federal Agents, Portland

Just as the old adage states: Even if I don’t like what you have to say I’ll fight for your right to say it. I maintain this view for those who peacefully protest anything at all, even if its free speech itself. Because fighting for your own rights is fighting for the rights of others. Especially when they’re granted by the document that made America possible.

The local government has restricted the constitutional rights of their citizens to defend themselves, suppressed the police, and allowed violent revolutionaries go unchecked: The Feds should intervene minimally. – Bucky’s take

We as Americans celebrate and embrace the right to peacefully assemble and protest. However, Fifty-four days and counting. The Pacific Northwest, spiritual home to the violent and radical Antifa group, is being trampled on by violent anarchists. Watch a few videos from Portland and Seattle, take a look at the failure of CHAZ/CHOP and all the property destruction, and then tell me about peaceful and legitimate protests.

The worst part? Local governments have been enabling this. They’ve reigned in the local police and told them to stand down in more instances than one. They’ve given in to the mobs, purposefully.

Photo Credit: (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

It gets worse. Leftist politicians in these areas have made it nearly impossible to get your hands on a firearm – the back-log of people waiting for guns is growing according to one of my sources. They’ve violated the people’s constitutional right to bear arms.

In violating the US constitution, the leftist mayor of Portland has essentially neutered average citizens. Police aren’t allowed to stop the rioters. Citizens aren’t allowed to form militia groups and stand against the violent mob (and that’s all they would have to do – stand there, armed. I’m almost positive the mob would quickly become peaceful against a wall of armed community members). Violent mob rule has been not only allowed but encouraged. And its destroying people’s business’ destroying public property, getting people hurt, and even KILLED.

Need proof? Look no further than Seattle, where protesters set up a disastrous ‘no cop co-op’ by the name of CHOP. Regular citizens were abandoned by their police force and, as cited in the article, people were killed. Numerous private citizens and businesses are suing the city and asking ‘why did you abandon us?’ After it was dismantled, the violence continued when they attempted to burn down the East precinct police station.

When your city abandons you to the mob, it’s more than reasonable to want help from someone else. As a husband and father of a beautiful 2 year old daughter, I would be shocked to hear of any mother or father, stripped of their full right to keep and bear arms and abandoned by the state in an Antifa declared autonomous zone, decline any offer of law and order enforcement by the federal government.

Besides, those ‘arrested’ by the feds were, according to the departments where the feds were deployed from, targeted in anything but arbitrary fashion. There’s little reason to think they’d be picking up random citizens to ‘intimidate’ other protesters. In fact, more people have come out to protest now that the feds are there than before. It is no secret that there is a hideous conglomerate of trained communist revolutionaries organizing demonstration, professional agitators exploiting, and foreign meddlers seeking to prolong and exacerbate the chaos.

State’s rights stop where the violation of the constitution begins. If the state legislators violate the second amendment then the federal government has every right to impose order where the citizenry (just wanting to live their lives and escape the chaos) cannot.

Portland, Federal Agents and protests

Trump has done just that by sending in federal agents to quell the unrest. If the local police can’t do their jobs because they’re beholden to their leftist masters then the feds can pick up where their incompetence leaves off. The amount of federal property damage imposed by toppling statues, burning federal buildings, and graffiti are staggering. US federal zones are looking more and more like Brazilian favelas every day and left-wing politicians are giving these anarchists the thumbs-up because it’s an election year.

Trump is not the sort of president to kowtow to either leftists or violent mobs. He’s fully within the authority of the executive branch to deploy federal agents to enforce federal laws. We may not agree with many of the things he does, but we’d be hard-pressed to argue with his reasoning for sending in the feds at this juncture.

Federal agents, Portland
Photo Credit: Noah Berger

When you’re wandering around at 3 AM, dressed in black and riot gear and attached to a mob of people who’ve been torching buildings and destroying federal property, what do you expect to happen? These are the same Guerilla tactics employed by communist insurgents from Vietnam to mid-20th century China. Dissociating physically from the group who’re all guilty of violating federal law doesn’t absolve you of guilt.

Thus, we’re left with a real gray area. Are you a citizen protected by the constitution or a domestic terrorist when you’re out in the streets perpetrating these acts of violence and destruction? Besides, the overreach of law enforcement officials isn’t necessarily mandated from above. It’s highly doubtful that the federal government instructed these guys to get out there and disappear some random people at will. That’ll energize protests in the US instead of helping to de-escalate, and we can all be certain that Trump wants de-escalation that restores law and order.

The police union in Chicago, a democrat-run city and one of the most violent cities in the US, has sent the federal government a plea for help. The mayor doesn’t allow the police to do their jobs and people are dying from violent crime in record numbers. There’s an obvious line in the sand between scattered police violence and the unmitigated violent crime in places like Chicago, but too many leftists have their head buried on one side of it to see.

Violent revolutionaries can’t be allowed to exploit peaceful protests, and take root in American cities when they’re breaking the law with abandon every day. Rule of law lets civilization exist, and dethroning it in the favor of political gain is an attack on democratic values. The feds are doing their job in enforcing the rule of law because the democratic mayors in many cities gave up on the rule of law. Is this my preferred solution? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I believe in federalism, and local governance. But when regular citizens have been unconstitutionally disarmed and abandoned by their community, at some point I believe it is within reason for the federal government to interfere as gently and minimally as possible until the citizens are re-equipped to defend themselves.

Something had to be done, and it being. Next order of business: repeal unconstitutional gun laws and re-arm the citizens who worried about their well-being among consistent violence. Perhaps if these cities had stepped in line with the constitution in the first place we wouldn’t be in this mess.


We’ve both tried to nuance our views with regard to this issue. It comes to the attention of the authors that mainstream reporting about this falls squarely along party lines as do most issues in today’s media climate and have thus given the information to readers for them to make up their own mind.

Please chime in with your opinion and tell us if you’d like to see more content like this in the future!

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