WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
Federal police are again patrolling the streets of Portland. But this time, they're also Portland cops.
Last week, U.S. Marshal for Oregon Russ Burger deputized about 50 Portland police officers as deputy U.S. marshals. That deputization lasts the remainder of the calendar year, as Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported this week.
That revelation set off a flurry of finger-pointing and a jurisdictional standoff. Mayor Ted Wheeler wants the deputization rescinded, saying it represents an incursion by the federal government into local law enforcement. U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams refused, saying Portland protesters weren't facing harsh enough consequences under Wheeler's watch. And Gov. Kate Brown, who set the whole thing in motion? She claimed ignorance of the details.
So Portland has four dozen newly minted Raylan Givenses. What does that mean for Black Lives Matter protesters and others who plan to march in the streets?
We asked a criminal defense lawyer.
John Schlosser, who runs a private practice in Portland and sometimes defends demonstrators arrested in the city, tells WW that the deputization is intended to stifle free speech. So we asked him how he would advise clients and whether Portlanders should worry about what the new deputy U.S. marshals will do the day after Election Day.