by WorldTribune Staff, August 2, 2018
Portland’s mayor ordered police not to respond to calls for help from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who were under siege by leftist protesters for more than a month, a report said.
Protesters began surrounding the ICE building in Portland beginning June 17 after news reports on immigrant family separations.
“The protesters briefly shut down the ICE building by blocking the entrances and exits, harassing employees as they arrived and attempted to leave,” Willamette Week reported on July 30.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler ordered police not to intervene, even after ICE agents called 911 to ask for assistance, the report said.
An ICE officer, who spoke to Willamette Week on the condition of anonymity, said two agency employees who were blocked by protesters from leaving the building called Portland police on June 19. One of those employees told Portland police that protesters followed his truck as he went to pick up his daughter from summer camp and harassed him in the parking lot.
The ICE officer also said protesters showed up at his Portland apartment building a few hours later. Again, he called police, but says no officer responded.
Chris Crane, president of ICE’s national union, said the situation at the ICE building in Portland spiraled out of control because police, on Wheeler’s order, would not assist federal agents.
“Every person in law enforcement knows there are few things as dangerous or as unpredictable as an angry mob,” Crane said. “No one could have responded quickly enough to protect our employees who were trapped inside this building. All of this because the mayor of Portland has a beef with the President of the United States.”
On July 30, members of the National ICE Council sent Wheeler a cease and desist letter demanding he require Portland police to assist federal agents if called upon.
“Your current policy forbidding Portland law enforcement agencies from assisting employees of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency who request law enforcement assistance while at or away from work is a violation of the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause,” the letter says.
The union’s letter to Wheeler states that if the mayor does not allow Portland police to assist federal immigration agents, the ICE union will take him to court.
“We fail to see why targeting the employees of ICE and leaving them vulnerable to violence, harassment and even death furthers a legitimate government interest,” ICE union attorney Sean Riddell said in the letter. “Your policy has created a zone of terror and lawlessness.”