Federal officers, charged with handling an “Occupy ICE” protest on the lawn of Portland’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices, were subjected to a “barrage of hateful and at times racially-charged invective” during both the month-long demonstration and an operation designed to clear the protest camp, according to the Oregonian.
Protesters have been holding a “nonstop demonstration” against ICE at its Portland, Oregon, headquarters since July 17. Initially, activists were demonstrating against a Trump Administration policy that separated children and adults from illegal immigrants awaiting asylum hearings at the border. Once that policy was rescinded — by Trump himself — the protest turned into an “Occupy ICE PDX” camp, aimed at “abolishing” the Department of Homeland Security’s investigative arm.
Federal officers, assigned to protect the ICE office — and, eventually to break up part of the camp located on Federal property — told the Oregonian that protesters regularly hurled racial slurs, particularly at non-white members of law enforcement.
“In emails obtained by the newsroom, one African American officer reported to an administrator that protesters ‘began yelling racial slurs’ at him, including the N-word,” the paper reports. “The officer said he was also called a ‘blood traitor’ and an Uncle Tom, a derogatory term implying a black person is acting subservient to whites for money or prestige.”
“These racial slurs have been directed at me throughout the entire length of the deployment,” the officer wrote in his report, also obtained by the Oregonian.
Another officer, a female of “Hispanic and Native American descent” told superiors that she was “berated for so long I can’t even remember everything that was told to me.” She reported being called a “weak female” and a “traitor” as well as “derogatory terms for Hispanic people.”
Other officers reported being called “murderers,” “rapists,” and Nazis.”
“They have yelled continuously that they hope we die, they hope our families die,” one officer wrote.
Organizers of the Occupy ICE rally in Portland, many of whom are people of color, declined to speak with the Oregonian, but at least one reporter not affiliated with the Oregonian who spent time within the Occupy ICE PDX camp, was able to substantiate the officers’ claims.
This is something I witnessed. Non-white federal officers on duty to protect the Portland ICE office say they’ve been subject to racist & sexist verbal abuse from the “abolish ICE” protesters. https://t.co/Rc7ahLEwEm
— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) July 25, 2018
He was also, somewhat ironically, able to substantiate claims that Occupy ICE PDX constructed a wall around their camp, which was on public property, to prevent unwanted — say, undocumented — interlopers from infiltrating its borders.