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DOJ Watchdog Announces Investigation Into Trump’s Use Of Federal Forces In Portland And Washington, D.C.

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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Thursday that the department’s independent watchdog agency will investigate the use of force by federal law enforcement agents deployed by President Donald Trump in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC, where violent crackdowns on protesters have punctuated a summer that’s been rocked by protests against police brutality, CNN reports.

Horowitz said in a statement that his review of the law enforcement responses would include an examination of the instructions officers received and their compliance with policies regarding proper identification and the use of chemical agents, according to the news network.

The watchdog agency is also probing allegations that unidentified federal officers improperly detained and transported some protesters, he said in a letter to Congress.

Trump is facing fierce criticism over his administration’s treatment of the protests in both cities, which swelled after the killing in May of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, with many accusing that they amounted to authoritarian suppression.

The brutal scene in Washington, DC’s Lafayette Square last month generated widespread condemnation after federal officers abruptly descended on peaceful protesters near the White House ahead of Trump’s walk across the park for a photo-op at a nearby church.

Attorney General William Barr became the focal point for criticism following that incident after officials said he was responsible for the order to move in on the protesters, although Barr has disputed that.

Trump, meanwhile, has embraced the heavy-handed responses to protests across the country and converted his law-and-order messaging into a campaign issue ahead of the November election and has called on police to “dominate” the protesters.

The announcements from the inspectors general on Thursday represent some of the federal government’s most serious attempts to account for the violence and follows a litany of requests for oversight from current and former public officials and key congressional Democrats.

This is a developing story.

Read more at CNN

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