OFFICIALS in Portland could face criminal or civil charges over clashes between protesters and federal law enforcement.
The Justice Department has been investigating how local officials “were handling, or not handling” protests that have escalated to bouts of extreme violence during the continuous clashes between protesters and federal law enforcement, Fox News reported.
Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec declined to comment if DOJ officials were specifically focusing on specific officials or whether they will ultimately face charges, the outlet reported.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has not addressed reports of possible charges but called on protesters in the city to end violence on Saturday.
“I call on everyone in our community to step up and end the violence and to focus on advancing racial justice,” Wheeler wrote.
In a conference call with US Attorneys last week, Attorney General William Barr reportedly warned that violent demonstrations across could get worse as the November presidential election approaches.
News reports this week said Barr allegedly told top DOJ prosecutors to aggressively pursue charges, including the use of sedition law, against protesters.
Barr also asked prosecutors to explore whether they could bring charges against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan after protesters created the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, The New York Times reported.
However, DOJ officials have disputed the report and a department spokesman told the outlet that Barr did not direct prosecutors to explore charges against Durkan.
He told a Chicago Tribune columnist that the nation could find itself “irrevocably committed to the socialist path” if Mr. Trump lost and that the country faced “a clear fork in the road.”
Portland has consistently made international headlines for its intense nightly clashes between law enforcement and protesters since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis in May.
Black Lives Matter protesters in the Oregon city have attempted to set ablaze police and police union buildings — have been caught throwing “softball size” rocks and glass bottles at police.
Shocking footage from an August skirmish shows the rightwing militia wearing paramilitary gear attempting to engage Antifa members and anti-police protesters in combat as the groups fought with baseball bats and hurled objects in a plaza across from a federal building.
The animosity between cops and protesters reached a boiling point in July when President Donald Trump ordered federal troops to bring order to the city.
Weeks after the troops were finally withdrawn, Trump called on Oregon Governor Kate Brown to bring in the National Guard.
Last month, it was announced that hundreds of Portland protesters who have been arrested during the Black Lives Matter demos will not face charges.
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