Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D. OR) on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:
Today, along with Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Chris Murphy, and other colleagues, I introduced legislation to stop the Trump administration from using federal forces as a shadowy paramilitary against Americans. Thousands of PCCC members have signed on in support of this bill.
After a week in which heavily armed, unmarked federal forces in unmarked vehicles have been grabbing protesters off the street in Portland, this legislation would:
- Require individual and agency identification on uniforms of officers and prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests.
- Limit federal agents’ crowd control activities to federal property and its immediate vicinity, unless their presence is specifically requested by both the mayor and governor.
- Require disclosure on an agency website within 24 hours of deployments specifying the number of personnel and purposes of deployment.
- Make it illegal to conduct any arrests in violation of these rules.
A vote could happen as early as this week. All my colleagues on both sides of the aisle need to know the public is paying attention and won't tolerate this. Will you sign on as a supporter of our emergency proposal?
What we have seen in the last 10 days in Portland has been horrific and unconscionable.
Federal forces have shot an unarmed protester in the head with impact munitions, and paramilitary forces in camouflage have been grabbing people off the streets and putting them into unmarked vans.
These are the actions of an authoritarian regime, not a democratic republic. This gross violation of Americans’ civil rights must end immediately.
In the Senate, I introduced this bill with Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), and 18 other senators have already signed on. In the House, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced companion legislation.
With a vote possible as soon as this week in both houses of Congess, and with every state at risk, we have to mobilize support fast. We can't let these authoritarian tactics stand.
Thanks for being a patriotic American.
— Sen. Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley)