Federal agents should not be operating on City streets without local approval

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This is an open letter to the Connecticut Congressional Delegation.

We are profoundly concerned by the actions of federal agents operating on the streets of Portland, OR, without state or local approval and in violation of past precedent.  Their presence is in direct contravention of the declarations of both the mayor of Portland and the governor of Oregon, as well as both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators, all of whom have demanded that the federal agents be removed immediately.

It is clear to us, the undersigned  members of the Board of Directors of Common Cause in Connecticut,  that the presence and actions of the federal agents in Portland, who operate without any identification or accountability and who are detaining citizens without warning or reason and violently attacking peaceful protesters, is an abuse of federal power.   These activities smack of dictatorship and are wholly at odds with the U.S. Constitution. The Trump administration’s explanation of protecting federal property is patently untrue and implausible. If these actions are allowed to continue unabated and without correction, we fear we will see such lawless federal forces on the streets of cities across the country, perhaps including Stamford, New Haven or Hartford.

While we join in the call by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ronald Wyden and Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici for investigations into the presence and actions of unmarked federal agents in Portland, we have little faith that either the U.S. Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security Offices of Inspector General will conduct fair and impartial investigations.  Rather, we urgently call on you, as our state’s members of Congress, to take immediate legislative action to curb this federal lawlessness in Portland and prevent it from being replicated in other locations.  The Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security must be required to respect the law and prohibited from operating as an unrestrained and violent federal police force within our country’s boundaries and in our cities.

We stand ready to assist you in protecting our constitutional right to protest and assemble peaceably, the accountability and transparency of our government, and our democracy.


State Governing Board of Common Cause in Connecticut

  • Bilal Dabir Sekou, Chair, Vernon
  • Susan Pease, Vice-chair, Hartford
  • Dan E. Livingston, Hartford
  • Michele Jacklin, Glastonbury
  • Alex Knopp, Norwalk
  • James Barber, New Haven
  • Diana Evans, East Hartford
  • Mary Jennings, Berlin


Ex-norwalker July 24, 2020 at 8:33 am

Don’t behave like animals and there would be no need for federal help. Federal help is needed when mayors and governors can’t control what’s going on,

Norwalk Native July 24, 2020 at 9:05 am

To the above signed anarchists:

Your opinions are your own and do not reflect the opinion of all CT voters. If the Mayors of Portland, Chicago and New York City are unwilling or unable to maintain order and protect public and private properties, it is the responsibility of the Feds to step in. While you may have little confidence in the Federal government, I have no confidence in your ability or desire to uphold the rule of law.

Curious July 24, 2020 at 9:08 am

With all due respect I could not disagree with the authors more. I do agree that our civil rights are being trampled At all levels. However to call the Portland protests peaceful is irresponsible. They have been going on far to long resulting in people’s lives and livelihoods being ruined.

If you want the federal agents to leave there is a very simple local government solution. Take responsibility and Reestablish the authority given to you by the local electorate, stop the violent protests, allow freedom of speech, listen thoughtfully, act respectfully, protect the rights of all citizens and allow the democratic process to work. Lopsided leadership by either party never has good outcomes.

Condoning the clear lawlessness that is happening in the cities led exclusively by Democratic majority such as Portland is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Democratic leadership. It also highlights the cowardice on the part of the republicans at a local, state and federal level. Where are the adults in the room? The feds should have stepped in weeks ago as we watched these Democratic cities far further into chaos.

Unfortunately the majority of the public, (62%) in a recent poll, are unwilling to express their first amendment rights for fear of persecution. I count myself among them. We have all watched as people have lost their jobs, had their business boycotted or vandalized, or worse received bodily harm for nothing more than holding a more traditional opinion. We have lost our free speech to the radical left minority egged on by an equally irresponsible main stream media. Where are the adults in the room?

Letters like this only fuel the fire and announce the weakness of authority and fear of the mob. And as we know from history, revolutions like this will consume themselves over time but only after the chaos, violence, and mayhem have run their course.

Again, where are the adults in the room?

Clark Charles July 24, 2020 at 9:13 am

If people are going to protest peacefully that’s fine, but what is happening in our cities with all of the violence, looting and mayhem is not. The President and the Federal Government have every right to put a stop to this anarchy if local officials are not willing to do it. It is ridiculous and criminal what is going on in Chicago with these young Black children being killed every week there, and people destroying the buildings and streets in Portland, New York, etc. Shame on the local officials for allowing this to happen. People like Mayor Dblasio should be thrown out of office for what he’s done. If it were me I would have the federal government lock all of these people up and make them do community service and pay back financially everything they have destroyed.If they refuse they go to jail for a long time, it’s simple. People have had enough of all of this. The National Guard, or federal task force needs to step in and round all of these hoodlums up. This is my take on everything here.

CT-Patriot July 24, 2020 at 12:26 pm

The President and Federal law enforcement DO NOT NEED PRIOR APPROVAL. PERIOD, FULL STOP!

Failure for local government law enforcement be it a stand down or other matter is the problem.

American citizens cannot continue to live in fear of being assaulted or shot.

Once local/state government fails their duty to keep law and order, the President has no choice but to send in Federal Law Enforcement to protect FEDERAL property.

Don’t want Federal law Enforcement in your city or state? Get your elected officials to do their damn job by allowing local and state law enforcement to perform their duty of keeping law and order.

Its really that simple people….

John ONeill July 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm

It should be pointed out to this group of blind mice that these protests have been anything but peaceful. In fact, quite the opposite. I would hope our Harry Rilling wouldn’t be OK with 50 days of protests and looting would not be tolerated by the Norwalk community. Holy cow, there’s a reason why Knopp was Knot voted back in after 2 miserable terms. The signers of this document are blinded by Trump-hate..It’s time to put their burgeois bs to the side, put their red wine back in the cabinet and open their eyes to reality.
Not sure if many have heard the name Vernon Baker. Big Vern is today’s American hero of the day. He single handidly won a battle in Italy in 1945. He was finally recognized with the Medal of Honor in the 90s. Vern overcame discrimination and segregation and kept moving forward, finally getting his just due. I wish I knew him personally! My only regret is never meeting him. Thanks Vern for saving our ass in a war against a bunch of lunatics.

Non Partisan July 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm

If Norwalk had this same issue as other cities- I would demand the feds come in and restore order

I am also more than a little disappointed the feds have not ended ct and norwalks sanctuary policies that will bankrupt the great state and city I once loved.

Bryan Meek July 24, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Maybe I imagined this, but don’t the FBI, DEA, AFT, EPA, and other alphabet organizations enforce laws at a local level? Maybe I missed something, but do they have to get permission from our local Kommandants before doing this?

David July 25, 2020 at 9:59 am

Ah yes. I would SO love to see the comment section if Obama were sending unidentifiable federal agents into cities to pick up People in unmarked vans and interrogate them. Or even, dare I say, President Biden?

Isn’t this exactly what the right wing warned us about in the past?

CT-Patriot July 26, 2020 at 5:13 am

Ah, you are aware that the FBI, DHS etc operate vehicles that are unmarked right? Can’t say I’ve ever seen an FBI vehicle with the letters FBI on them.

The point of rolling up on someone in an unmarked is to grab them prior to events. They are targeted prior through intel.

Also, you do know the person is put before a magistrate and those records are public.

Maybe before some post comments about Federal apprehension do a wee bit of research.

This is not East Germany or the former USSR.

Bryan Meek July 26, 2020 at 6:38 am

Yes David, those agencies also operated undercover ops during Obama’s years. Of course they were using laws meant to protect us from terrorists to get wiretaps on political opposition and ignoring things like citizens pleas to bring Epstein to justice, but they were in business for certain.

Mitch Adis July 27, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Our fearless leaders (plus their armed bodyguards) have been telling us for years “You don’t need a gun to protect your family, that’s what the Police are for”. Now, the same well protected leaders are pushing to defund or “redirect funding” for the Police. On top of that, they are refusing Federal help and allowing criminals to do whatever they want. What’s next?

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