The battle lines in Portland and the media are hardening. As federal law enforcement officers deploy to protect federal buildings and monuments against increasingly violent rioters, the media is also escalating its information war. Even analysts on Fox News are adding to the misleading hysteria.
While it is easier to dismiss biased reporting from the establishment media on a controversial Trump topic such as this, critical commentary from a prominent Fox analyst is different.
Fox News senior judicial analyst, and former New Jersey Superior Court judge, Andrew Napolitano, recently slammed the Trump administration for sending federal law enforcement to Portland, Oregon, calling the move “unconstitutional” and “just plain wrong.”
Sadly, in this case, Napolitano is the one who is just “plain wrong.”
“You have anarchy on one hand,” Napolitano said Monday, according to The Hill, adding that, “If the troops come in the streets, you have a potential for even more violence on the other hand.”
Later, on Tuesday, reported Fox News, Napolitano said, “Federal agents in Portland, Ore., must confine their law enforcement duties to the protection of federal assets and wear uniforms that identify them,” adding, ‘They have to be restrained’ – referring to what Federal agents in Portland can and cannot do. He added that they simply can’t enforce general criminal laws.
First, let us address the judge’s first comment where he calls the federal officers’ “troops” – an obviously incorrect and inflammatory reference. These are all duly appointed law civilian law enforcement officers – calling them troops is deceiving and “just plain wrong.” And President Trump sending them to Portland is in no way “unconstitutional” – and Napolitano knows better.
Also, Judge, since when do our political leaders refrain from enforcing the law and control “anarchy” out of fear the anarchists will get more violent?
Napolitano is correct that federal law enforcement officers sent to cities facing rioting are limited in what they can do, and as he stated, according to Fox News, “They can’t supplement or replace the police,” Napolitano explained. “They can’t go throughout the streets and say, ‘Hey, you’re committing a crime. We’re going to arrest you.’”
However, Napolitano’s jumping on the left-wing media bandwagon claiming that these officers have gone beyond that scope and are just detaining people arbitrarily – is based on incomplete and misleading news reporting. This is unprofessional and that narrative is also “just plain wrong.”
Napolitano steps into the fire when he claims, according to Fox News that:
They certainly can’t do what they have been doing in Oregon, which is arresting people without a warrant and without probable cause, holding them for a few hours and then letting them go…So they have to be restrained and they have to confine their activity to the federal property.
While out-of-context videos or biased reports from protestors can be used to paint a nefarious picture of feds randomly picking up innocent people on the streets, facts provided by court records about how the federal officers are operating shows a very different reality.
As local news outlet, OregonLive reported, “Feds conduct surveillance from courthouse, analyze social media videos, post undercover agents in crowds,” to decide who to detain or arrest. Using court records from recent cases, the outlet reported:
Federal officers have conducted surveillance of protesters from upper floors of the downtown …Courthouse, analyzed live nightly video footage and posted undercover agents among crowds to arrest people on allegations ranging from shining lasers at officers to breaking plywood protecting courthouse doors, federal records reveal.
Federal officers also have shared some of their information with Portland police officers, who assisted them in at least one arrest earlier this month, the documents disclose.
Federal agents have taken photos of people committing vandalism and reviewed video of action outside the courthouse, sometimes relying on live streams from demonstrators or independent journalists shared via Twitter, YouTube or other social media, according to federal officers and prosecutors.
They have monitored people before wading into crowds to make arrests — sometimes waiting for hours until the gatherings have thinned…
These records seem to show that the federal officers in Portland are not randomly snatching people off the street, but simply waiting for the opportune and safest moment to apprehend suspects who attacked federal assets or personnel earlier. Other times they pass their intelligence to local law enforcement. All perfectly legal and appropriate.
Perhaps Napolitano and other uninformed critics should do some research to understand how the feds are really operating in Portland, before giving their “expert” opinion.