The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security announced two separate investigations into the federal deployment of officers to quell protests in Portland and Washington DC, NPR reports.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced on Thursday that he will investigate the use of force by agents in both cities.
Federal officers in Portland have been seen putting people into unmarked vans and firing non-lethal munitions at protesters. In DC, the Park Police fired chemicals to clear a park near the White House so Trump could pose in front of a nearby church.
"The review will include examining the training and instruction that was provided to the DOJ law enforcement personnel," Horowitz said.
The inspector general added that he will also probe where officers complied with "applicable identification requirements, rules of engagement, and legal authorities" and their "adherence to DOJ policies regarding the use of less-lethal munitions, chemical agents, and other uses of force."
DHS launches probe too:
DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari announced in a letter to Congressional leaders that he will investigate allegations that officers in Portland “improperly detained and transported protesters.”
“We are forming a multi-disciplinary team to examine DHS’ deployment of law enforcement personnel to Portland,” he added.
DHS probe came in response to House criticism:
The DHS investigation was launched in response to concern from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson.
"In some cases, citizens could not tell the difference between law enforcement and far-right extremists in the region who wore similar military gear," they said in a letter to Cuffari. "The legal basis for this use of force has never been explained — and, frankly, it is not at all clear that the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary are authorized to deploy federal law enforcement officers in this manner.”
"The Attorney General of the United States does not have unfettered authority to direct thousands of federal law enforcement personnel to arrest and detain American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights,” they said. “The Acting Secretary appears to be relying on an ill-conceived executive order meant to protect historic statues and monuments as justification for arresting American citizens in the dead of night."