The Christian Science Monitor

Two cities, a spike in crime, and the federal response

A city’s tensions erupted into a national spectacle last month when federal tactical teams appeared on the streets of Portland, Oregon. Heavily armed officers clad in camouflage uniforms targeted demonstrators with tear gas, batons, and less lethal munitions, a show of force countered by the “wall of moms” and “leaf-blower dads.” President Donald Trump, a Republican, blamed the upheaval on “anarchists and agitators” as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, faulted the “Trump troops.”

The spectacle subsided late last week. The tactical teams ceded the duty of guarding a federal courthouse downtown to state police under an agreement between Governor Brown and Trump administration officials. Meanwhile, the city’s tensions persist, with community frustration toward the Portland Police Bureau – sparked after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd on Memorial Day – intensifying during July’s unrest.

Videos captured police working alongside federal officers to disrupt protests near the courthouse. If the scenes provoked surprise among white residents, who make up more than 70% of the city’s population of 655,000, Lakayana Drury suggests that people of color saw the Portland police they long have known.

“If you’re white, the three blocks around the courthouse have been a war zone. If you’re Black, the whole city is a war zone,” says Mr. Drury,

Tear gas and verbal salvos“Policing requires cooperation”Shared responsibility

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