July 21, 2020

Cardin Statement on DHS Deployment of Federal Law Enforcement in Portland and Other U.S. Cities

“America is not ‘under siege’ as the president would like citizens to believe, except by a president who freely uses aggressive law enforcement as a prop to distract the country from his flailing response to the pandemic that has crippled our nation.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, which has oversight for federal facilities, released the following statement on the Trump administration’s use of 40 U.S. Code § 1315 to explain the use of federal law enforcement activity in Portland, Ore.

“The First Amendment to our nation’s Constitution is key to the foundation of our country’s democracy, including the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances. The President of the United States ordering unidentifiable agents of the Department of Homeland Security to arrest and detain protesters is a flagrant breach of trust and potentially a violation of the law. Congress must speak up in a unified, bipartisan voice and tell the president that such an escalation and militarization of our city streets – without provocation or invitation from local officials – must stop. Now.

 “I have co-sponsored legislation that would place important limits and oversight on the use of federal officers for enforcement operations and arrests relating to protests, including making sure that law enforcement officers are clearly identified.  Today, I voted in the Senate to place further limits on the transfer of excess military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. I will continue to demand that America reform its federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including through passage of the Justice in Policing Act.  We urgently need to rebuild trust with our communities, and change the Trump administration’s mentality from a ‘warrior’ to a ‘guardian’ approach for law enforcement.

“America is not ‘under siege’ as the president would like citizens to believe, except by a president who freely uses aggressive law enforcement as a prop to distract the country from his flailing response to the pandemic that has crippled our nation.”

 

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