Since the announcement of Donald Trump’s anti-crime plan, which plans to send federal agents to democratic cities to “restore order,” the threat of legal action has increased. Opponents condemn an authoritarian attitude that violates the power of local authorities.
Federal agents in the face of American justice. On Thursday, July 23, the Director General of the Ministry of Justice, Michael Horowitz, announced that two internal investigations had been launched. One of them is about the actions of federal agents in Portland during the protests against racism, which have rocked the city in the northwestern United States since George Floyd was killed. The second will need to evaluate the benefits of the intervention of federal troops to disperse protesters around the White House, the 1your last June in Washington.
These two operations have received a torrent of criticism from Donald Trump, as maintaining order and handling demonstrations is usually the responsibility of local authorities. But far from backing down, the US president revealed on Wednesdaya new plan to fight crime aimed to expand the activities of federal agents to more democratic cities and accused their mayors of being responsible for the social unrest they face.
“For decades, politicians at the head of our largest cities have placed the interests of criminals above honest citizens. These same politicians have now joined the radical left in dismantling our police services,” Donald declared. Trump announces that contingents were being sent to the cities of Chicago, Albuquerque, Baltimore or even Philadelphia to “restore order.”
Activities at the border of the federal government
Donald Trump’s anti-crime plan is officially intended to fight murder, firearms and hate crimes, known as Operation Legend in homage to Legend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was shot dead in his home in Kansas City. is increasing sharply in several cities in the United States. A circumference therefore adapted to the intervention of certain federal bodies such as the FBI, responsible for organized crime, or the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), which fights drug trafficking.
But Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on a “radical movement”, “anti-police”, which must be fought, in the midst of a wave of demonstrations against police violence and racism, cast doubt on the real purpose of such actions. operations. Especially in recent weeks, the presence of federal troops in the city of Portland during Black Lives Matter protests has been controversial.
“This is a gray area,” said Maria Haberfeld, a professor of political science at John Jay University of Criminal Justice in New York, interviewed in France 24. “The president has the right to send officers to protect federal buildings, as is the case in Portland with In addition, federal officers can intervene when there is a suspicion of domestic terrorism and Trump considers the ‘antifa’ (anti-fascists) involved in these protests to be a terrorist group.Cities and states are still responsible for dealing with violent situations, but Trump’s strategy is not illegal. “
“Random stops in unmarked vehicles”
Whether the presence of federal agents is legal in Portland remains to be seen what exactly their mission consists of. And this is where the shoe gets in the way, explains Mathieu Zagrodzki, a research researcher at the Center for Sociological Research on Law and Criminal Institution, interviewed by France 24: “Usually the protection of federal buildings is carried out indoors or in. “They act on the public road to arresting people. The question then arises as to whether they are violating the rights of citizens, as well as the rights of municipalities that are usually responsible for such activities.”
For the city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, the operating procedure is clearly unconstitutional: “They arrest people at random, without revealing their identity or stating the reason for the arrest, and committing them into unmarked vehicles,” he condemned. July 19 on CNN.
Mark Morgan, the Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), whose officers are involved in operations in Portland, admitted a few days later of the arrests: “It is a matter of common sense if a person will attack a federal agent then move from federal property, we will arrest him anyway and we have the right to do so! “
On Friday, the UN, for its part, called on the US government to protect the right to peaceful protest and claimed that the deployment of unidentified agents carries an increased risk of human rights violations.
The answers of the democratic mayors
Pointed out by the Trump administration, accused of incompetence and even sometimes of defending criminals, the mayors of cities affected by the deployment of federal troops have unilaterally supported forces and allied.
On Wednesday, a letter signed by 15 local elected officials was sent to the Ministries of Justice and Homeland Security, calling for the immediate withdrawal of federal forces and condemning practices worthy of authoritarian regimes.
News on @Morning_Joe: The mayors of Portland, NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA and other major cities send letters to AG Barr & Acting DHS Sec. Wolf calls for immediate withdrawal of federal forces … “This is a tactic we expect from authoritarian regimes – not our democracy.” pic.twitter.com/oRchywM9Tx
– Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) July 22, 2020
“I do not need the invitation of the local authorities to do my job,” said Chad Wolf, Homeland Security Minister.
“We work with the federal government on a daily basis, we usually have detailed documents on the division of tasks and the purpose of the missions. But with the new plan we have absolutely nothing. No formal document,” was surprised Thursday Tim Keller, Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico , on MSNBC. Like him, many Democratic mayors condemn a total lack of consultation and fear that the arrival of federal officers will lead to landslides.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned that he will challenge anyone who sends federal agents to New York, and believes such a distribution is constitutional. A position shared by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said Tuesday he was ready to use all sorts of legal tools to prevent the arrival of agents. “Tyranny will not come out on the streets of Chicago,” she concluded forcefully.