FLEOA Statement Re: Fed. LE Response in Portland

FLEOA Statement Regarding the Federal Law Enforcement Response to Violence in Portland, Other U.S. Cities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                  July 21, 2020 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Larry Cosme National President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) issued the following press release in regarding the ongoing federal law enforcement response to violence, anarchy, and unrest in Portland, Oregon:

National President Cosme said, "For some 50 days, violent anarchists have taken siege over the city of Portland and other localities in our nation. In these weeks, federal buildings and personnel have been ambushed and assaulted, officers have been attacked and injured, and large mobs claiming to be ‘peaceful protestors’ have devolved into rioting in Portland and other cities. In the wake of this destruction, local and state officials have refused to restore order to the city or cooperate with federal law enforcement attempting to protect federal property, personnel, and regain control. The citizens of the United States of America deserve better. They deserve peace. The inaction of the local governments has emboldened criminals taking advantage of the chaos to destroy these American cities.”

"FLEOA stands by federal law enforcement officers attempting to end the violence. Law enforcement officers are being attacked daily with lasers attempting to inflict eye damage, large fireworks being shot at officers and buildings, sledge hammers, slingshots, stun guns, flaming debris, caustic substances, and more. It is not only law enforcement facing attacks. In Portland, on July 5, a joint law enforcement team was deployed to create a buffer between violent anarchists and a construction crew that faced attacks. Hostile crowds have set fires in local parks and plazas and used violent means to block roadways and building access. The violence has wreaked havoc onto the entire city,” Cosme explained.

"The message of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local officials has been to do nothing and allow the havoc to continue. The Mayor has also stated that federal law enforcement are escalating the situation rather than mitigating it, which is an inaccurate representation of the real facts. It ignores the law enforcement which have been deployed to protect peaceful protestors, even among violent anarchists,”Cosme continued. "Federal law enforcement have arrived on the scene to help, not cause a greater problem. However, when state and local governments refuse to allow state and local law enforcement to work with federal law enforcement, the job is increasingly difficult. Federal law enforcement relies on close coordination with state and local officials to understand the situation and respond appropriately. Politician’s focus on preventing that coordination increases the risk of danger for all those involved.”

"Specialized federal law enforcement teams trained to respond to violent actors have been and will be deployed as necessary to ensure cities are protected. Reports that these individuals are improperly trained or ill equipped to handle these situations are misguided. In reality, a significant obstacle our officers and agents face is a lack of cooperation with local governments. We implore local and state officials to come together to ensure the safety of their residents. Villainizing and blaming federal law enforcement will not solve the problems in Portland and elsewhere, only cooperation and a coordinated law enforcement response will solve the problems we all face as a nation. It is our sincere hope that this may happen soon so that all Americans can live in peace,” Cosme explained.

"The events of recent weeks are the culmination of years of the local government’s refusal to work alongside federal law enforcement. At the end of the day, we all have the same mission: to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution and the American people. State and local officials are failing at that mission and failing their residents by allowing violent anarchists to retain control of the city. Nonetheless, federal law enforcement will respond as appropriate. We will never abdicate our mission,” Cosme concluded.

FLEOA is the nation’s largest non-partisan, not-for-profit professional association representing more than 28,000 federal law enforcement officers and agents across 65 federal agencies.