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Members of the Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team were deputized as Federal Marshalls as of 9:00am on Saturday morning.
This measure is to provide an avenue of federal prosecution for people who attack officers during Portland's protests, which often turn violent. This includes several incidents involving violence directly targeting law enforcement officers.
“If I am to send them into harm’s way this weekend, on my authority, I’m going to ensure they have all the protections and authority of an OSP Trooper," PPB Superintendent Travis Hampton said according to a Facebook post from the bureau.
“Portland Officers have been serving on the front lines of nightly protests for months, sustaining injuries and encountering unspeakable violence,” Hampton added.
“I want violent individuals thinking about the enhanced penalties they may face if they harm a Portland Police Bureau Officer," Hampton said.
Violent rioters have been specifically targeting officers on many occasions, using everything from bottles and other hard objects, to Molotov cocktails, to improvised mortar made from fireworks. Another tactic used is shining a high-powered laser into officers' eyes, which can result in permanent vision damage.
Rioting in Portland has now been going on nightly for more than four months.