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Portland mayor asks officials to end federal deputation of city's police officers

Portland mayor asks officials to end federal deputation of city's police officers
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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) said on Tuesday that he asked U.S. officials to end the federal deputation of police officers in the city in response to months-long demonstrations.

Wheeler said he “asked the U.S. attorney’s office to withdraw the designation” that deputized the officers, The Associated Press reported. 

“A key feature of the designation is that anyone who assaults a federally deputized official could be subject to federal charges,” Wheeler said in the statement, according to the newswire. “Fortunately, I am confident the Multnomah County district attorney will continue to prosecute anyone who assaults or otherwise harms police officers or others.”

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Deputizing Portland officers also could give law enforcement a way around Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s decision not to file state charges against protesters arrested for lower-level and nonviolent offenses, the AP reported. 

Beginning last weekend, 56 Portland officers were deputized before a rally by the far-right group Proud Boys, but city officials said they did not know the designation would last for the rest of the year, the newswire reported. 

Portland city attorney Tracy Reeve reportedly wrote in an email to the U.S. attorney’s office that city leaders had been under the impression the federal deputization would end with the termination of the governor's state of emergency declared for last weekend’s far-right rally, AP reported. 

During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE said the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by" in response to a question about whether he would firmly denounce white supremacy. After criticism, he told reporters on Wednesday the group should “stand down” and that he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were.

Wheeler criticized Trump’s debate comments about the group and the president’s decision to not explicitly condemn white supremacy. 

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“I want to make it clear to the President and to our community: violence and hate have no place in Portland. Those engaged in violence and hate are working in opposition to racial justice. They are creating the conditions that allow white supremacy and intimidation to thrive,” the mayor said. 

The Proud Boys have visited Portland several times since Trump’s election, AP noted. 

Portland police arrested far-right protester and reported Proud Boys member Alan Swinney on Wednesday over allegations of assault during two incidents in August, the district attorney’s office said. 

Swinney is facing 12 counts including assault, attempted assault, unlawful use of a weapon, pointing a firearm at another person and unlawful use of mace, according to a statement by the district attorney's office.  

He was identified as a member of the Proud Boys movement by Oregon Public Broadcasting, which reported that Swinney was allegedly seen in photos and videos from an Aug. 22 rally in downtown Portland pointing a gun at a crowd of protesters during a clash between far-right and anti-fascist protesters.