Watchdog will examine behavior of US federal officers in Portland, Washington

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The U.S. Department of Justice inspector general said Thursday he would review the conduct of federal agents who responded to unrest in Portland, Oregon and Washington, following concerns from members of Congress and the public.The surveillance investigation will look into allegations of use of force in Portland, where the city’s top federal prosecutor and mayor have publicly complained.

In Washington, investigators will review the training and instructions provided to federal agents who responded to protest activity in Lafayette Square, near the White House.

Among the issues under consideration is whether officers followed Department of Justice guidelines, including identification requirements, deployment of chemical agents and use of force.

The investigation was announced amid the ongoing unrest in Portland, where Mayor Ted Wheeler was gassed by federal agents as he stood outside the courthouse.

WATCH | Mayor Ted Wheeler among teargas canisters in Portland:

During another night of protest against the presence of federal agents in Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler was among tear gas by federal law enforcement. 0:48

Local authorities in both towns complained that the presence of federal agents exacerbated tensions in the streets, while residents accused the government of violating their constitutional rights.

Civil unrest escalated in Portland after federal agents were charged with taking people in unmarked cars without probable cause. And in Washington, peaceful protesters were violently kicked from the streets by federal agents using tear gas.

The decision to send federal agents to US cities comes at a hyper-politicized time as Trump prepares for a new re-election strategy after the COVID-19 pandemic shook the economy, dismantling what his campaign had seen like his ticket for a second term.

Trump took advantage of a moment of growing violence in some cities, saying it will only increase if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November and Democrats have a chance to make the police reforms they have. approved after the murder of George Floyd and the nationwide protests. demanding racial justice.

The federal response will likely be a major topic of discussion next week when Attorney General William Barr appears before the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing.

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