Federal Law Enforcement cited in Portland, use unmarked vehicles to pull protesters of streets

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#1  Edited By nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

Oregon Public Broadcasting

UPDATE (7:46 p.m. PT) — In the early hours of July 15, after a night spent protesting at the Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, Mark Pettibone and his friend Conner O’Shea decided to head home.

It had been a calm night compared to most protesting downtown. By 2 a.m. law enforcement hadn’t used any tear gas and, with only a few exceptions, both the Portland Police Bureau and federal law enforcement officers had stayed out of sight.

A block west of Chapman Square, Pettibone and O’Shea bumped into a group of people who warned them that people in camouflage were driving around the area in unmarked minivans grabbing people off the street.

“So that was terrifying to hear,” Pettibone said.

They had barely made it half a block when an unmarked minivan pulled up in front of them.

“I see guys in camo,” O’Shea said. “Four or five of them pop out, open the door and it was just like, ‘Oh shit. I don’t know who you are or what you want with us.’”

Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.

The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to “quell” nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.

Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, while others have been arrested and released, including Pettibone. They also left one demonstrator hospitalized with skull fractures after shooting him in the face with so-called “less lethal” munitions July 11.

Officers from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Customs and Border Protection’s BORTAC, have been sent to Portland to protect federal property during the recent protests against racism and police brutality.

But interviews conducted by OPB show officers are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren’t near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity. Demonstrators like O’Shea and Pettibone said they think they were targeted by federal officers for simply wearing black clothing in the area of the demonstration.

O’Shea said he ran when he saw people wearing camouflage jump out of an unmarked vehicle. He said he hid when a second unmarked van pursued him.

Video shot by O’Shea and provided to OPB shows a dark screen as O’Shea narrates the scene. Metadata from the video confirms the time and place of the protesters’ account.

“Feds are driving around, grabbing people off the streets,” O’Shea said on the video. “I didn’t do anything fucking wrong. I’m recording this. I had to let somebody know that this is what happens.”

Pettibone did not escape the federal officers.

“I am basically tossed into the van,” Pettibone said. “And I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head.”

Pettibone and O’Shea both said they couldn’t think of anything they might have done to end up targeted by law enforcement. They attend protests regularly but they said they aren’t “instigators.” They don’t spray paint buildings, shine laser pointers at officers or do anything else other than attend protests, which law enforcement have regularly deemed “unlawful assemblies.”

Blinded by his hat, in an unmarked minivan full of armed people dressed in camouflage and body armor who hadn’t identified themselves, Pettibone said he was driven around downtown before being unloaded inside a building. He wouldn’t learn until after his release that he had been inside the federal courthouse.

“It was basically a process of facing many walls and corners as they patted me down and took my picture and rummaged through my belongings,” Pettibone said. “One of them said, ‘This is a whole lot of nothing.’”

Pettibone said he was put into a cell. Soon after, two officers came in to read him his Miranda rights. They didn’t tell him why he was being arrested. He said they asked him if he wanted to waive his rights and answer some questions, but Pettibone declined and said he wanted a lawyer. The interview was terminated, and about 90 minutes later he was released. He said he did not receive any paperwork, citation or record of his arrest.

“I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time,” Pettibone said. “And that apparently is grounds for detaining me.”

In a statement, the U.S. Marshals Service declined to comment on the practice of using unmarked vehicles, but said their officers had not arrested Pettibone.

“All United States Marshals Service arrestees have public records of arrest documenting their charges. Our agency did not arrest or detain Mark James Pettibone.”

OPB sent DHS an extensive list of questions about Pettibone’s arrest including: What is the legal justification for making arrests away from federal property? What is the legal justification for searching people who are not participating in criminal activity? Why are federal officers using civilian vehicles and taking people away in them? Are the arrests federal officers make legal under the constitution? If so, how?

After 7 p.m. Thursday, a DHS spokesperson responded, on background, that they could confirm Wolf was in Portland during the day. The spokesperson didn’t acknowledge the remaining questions.

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” said attorney Juan Chavez, director of the civil rights project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center.

Chavez has worked on litigation surrounding the weeks of protests and helped lead efforts to curb local police from using tear gas and munitions on protesters. He called the arrest by federal officers “terrifying.”

“You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he said. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”

Ashlee Albies, a civil rights attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, said Pettibone’s detention is an example of intimidation by federal law enforcement, and noted that people have a First Amendment right to demonstrate. She also said law enforcement officials have to follow procedures when they detain someone.

“I would be surprised to see that pulling up in an unmarked van, grabbing people off the street is an acceptable policy for a criminal investigation,” Albines said.

In a letter released Thursday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said, “Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city.”

“A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice,” Wolf wrote, denigrating protests against racism in the United States’ criminal justice system as an angry mob. “To attack it is to attack America.”

KOIN was first to report Thursday that Wolf was visiting Portland to view damage to the federal courthouse.

This week, Trump has repeatedly spoken out about what he calls lawlessness in the city. He praised the role of federal law enforcement officers in Portland and alluded to increasing their presence in cities nationwide. Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan called the protesters criminals.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the president and his announcement,” Morgan said, “but the Department of Justice is going to be involved in this, DHS is going to be involved in this; and we’re really going to take a stand across the board. And we’re going to do what needs to be done to protect the men and women of this country.”

Early Thursday morning, Portland police tried a new approach to stop the protests. Officers cleared Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, including Riot Ribs, a barbecue stand that had been cooking free food since July 4. The city said it was closing the parks for maintenance. By early afternoon, fences had been installed around both parks.

Police arrested nine people during the closure, including three of the people who ran Riot Ribs. They face a variety of charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office declined to offer comment on the latest events involving federal officers, but reiterated a statement from earlier in the week, saying federal officers should be restricted to guarding federal property.

“We do not need or want their help,” Wheeler said. “The best thing they can do is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether.”

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkely said if Wolf is coming to inflame the situation in Portland so the President can “look tough,” the acting DHS leader should leave.

“Federal forces shot an unarmed protester in the face,” Merkely said in a tweet. “These shadowy forces have been escalating, not preventing, violence.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown similarly called for federal law enforcement officers to leave Portland. She added, Wolf is on a “mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes.”

“This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety,” Brown said in a statement. “The President is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.”

What the f***?! This is adding up to what I feared would happen in this administration.

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N64DD

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#2 N64DD
Member since 2015 • 13167 Posts

@nintendoboy16: defund the police right?

Also people shouldnt be protesting, its causing covid spike.

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horgen

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#3 horgen  Moderator
Member since 2006 • 125943 Posts

@n64dd said:

@nintendoboy16: defund the police right?

Also people shouldnt be protesting, its causing covid spike.

Does this justify the actions by the police and government?

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LJS9502_basic

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#4 LJS9502_basic
Member since 2003 • 174756 Posts

@n64dd said:

@nintendoboy16: defund the police right?

Also people shouldnt be protesting, its causing covid spike.

Ah the old bait and switch. Address the topic.

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#5 Stevo_the_gamer  Moderator
Member since 2004 • 47838 Posts

Good on the feds for sending assistance to clean up the mess on the streets. Portland is a disaster.

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#6 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

I have zero sympathy for that city.

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#7 Xabiss
Member since 2012 • 4749 Posts

@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

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#8  Edited By nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Good on the feds for sending assistance to clean up the mess on the streets. Portland is a disaster.

So much for state's rights then...

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#9 DrLostRib
Member since 2017 • 5931 Posts

Isn't this basically some version of the right wing conspiracies that were spread about the obama admin?

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#10 nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

@drlostrib said:

Isn't this basically some version of the right wing conspiracies that were spread about the obama admin?

Yup... and everything he and his administration hypocritically bashed China for in Hong Kong. There is a reason they point fingers at each other at how horrible they can be.

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#11 DrLostRib
Member since 2017 • 5931 Posts

@nintendoboy16 said:
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Good on the feds for sending assistance to clean up the mess on the streets. Portland is a disaster.

So much for state's rights then...

is it still assistance if they don't seem to want it?

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#12 horgen  Moderator
Member since 2006 • 125943 Posts

Given the lack of identification. Isn't this straight up kidnapping?

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#13 SOedipus
Member since 2006 • 13649 Posts

Portland is a shithole. They needed assistance prior to the riots and covid. Not sure how I feel about this, considering how long it took.

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#14 Stevo_the_gamer  Moderator
Member since 2004 • 47838 Posts

@nintendoboy16: Federal buildings receiving federal security. Just like if the local PD fails to protect a county courthouse, the county SO has the authority to come in and provide security for the exterior of the building... same for state buildings and state police. States recognize the authority of federal officers, and most importantly, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

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#15 seveneleven
Member since 2020 • 46 Posts

I fail to see how grabbing people off the street while they are walking home has anything to do with protecting federal buildings.

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#16 nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

Man, more people are fine with America being totalitarian than I thought, just to "own the libs".

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#17 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@nintendoboy16 said:

Man, more people are fine with America being totalitarian than I thought, just to "own the libs".

What?

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#18  Edited By Vaasman
Member since 2008 • 15126 Posts

Gestapo Grapefruit loves it.

It's pretty bad seeing the escalation keep up for near four years and people still just aren't cluing in. "Hiring white supremacists doesn't mean anything!" "Kids in cages helps legal immigration!" "Military parades are cool look at all our tanks and shit!" "Nazi dog whistles? The fucks a dog whistle, goddamn you libs and your TDS!" "We're silencing and removing the press and cutting off briefings because they're all meanies!" "Who cares if we tear gas protesters, they deserve it!" "Who cares if protesters and reporters are pulled off the street without identification or local authorization, maybe they're rioting!"

What's next? "Who cares that people are being corralled on trains headed for unmarked camps, they aren't me so it's not a big deal." Does it really need to go that far before we see that there's a problem?

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#19 nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

@Vaasman said:

Gestapo Grapefruit loves it.

It's pretty bad seeing the escalation keep up for near four years and people still just aren't cluing in. "Hiring white supremacists doesn't mean anything!" "Kids in cages helps legal immigration!" "Military parades are cool look at all our tanks and shit!" "Nazi dog whistles? The fucks a dog whistle, goddamn you libs and your TDS!" "We're silencing and removing the press and cutting off briefings because they're all meanies!" "Who cares if we tear gas protesters, they deserve it!" "Who cares if protesters and reporters are pulled off the street without identification or local authorization, maybe they're rioting!"

What's next? "Who cares that people are being corralled on trains headed for unmarked camps, they aren't me so it's not a big deal." Does it really need to go that far before we see that there's a problem?

Or *law enforcement and/or National Guard shoots up unarmed protesters where Trump said he would shoot someone and not lose voters* "Pfft, they deserved it!" "It's nothing like China!"

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#20  Edited By KungfuKitten
Member since 2006 • 27389 Posts

@nintendoboy16 said:
@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Good on the feds for sending assistance to clean up the mess on the streets. Portland is a disaster.

So much for state's rights then...

It's a failed city. They had over 45 days of riots and weren't doing anything about it. I think this is the best way to do something about it. In direct confrontation it could lead to a lot of bloodshed. For all the bad things people say about Trump he does avoid all-out conflict a lot.

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deactivated-5f3ec00254b0d

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#21 deactivated-5f3ec00254b0d
Member since 2009 • 6278 Posts

One more step close to fascism. Congrats.

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#22 vl4d_l3nin
Member since 2013 • 3510 Posts

Feds defending federal buildings? Fascism!

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#23 Stevo_the_gamer  Moderator
Member since 2004 • 47838 Posts

@Chutebox said:
@nintendoboy16 said:

Man, more people are fine with America being totalitarian than I thought, just to "own the libs".

What?

Outside of Godwin's law and emotion laden hyperbole, I think the (poor) argument he was trying to make was that despotism is viewed favorably because it's targeted towards only progressives.

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#24 ad1x2
Member since 2005 • 8430 Posts

When the local government refuses to enforce the law because reasons (probably political in nature), they shouldn't be surprised the feds finally got involved.

And here comes social media to the rescue to bring the Hitler comparisons, which some of you eat up like an unsupervised toddler with cake and ice cream in front of them.

The LA Riots lasted about a week, but here we are a month and a half after Floyd's death and people are still rioting while that town's mayor is stepping aside.

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#25 nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

@KungfuKitten said:

It's a failed city. They had over 45 days of riots and weren't doing anything about it. I think this is the best way to do something about it. In direct confrontation it could lead to a lot of bloodshed. For all the bad things people say about Trump he does avoid all-out conflict a lot.

"Failed city"

You mean like Seattle (which HAD a Free Zone on Capitol Hill for a little bit) and New York City (Fifth Avenue, where Trump wouldn't mind shooting someone, had "Black Lives Matter" painted in front of Trump Tower)? Those so called "failures?"

@Stevo_the_gamer said:

Outside of Godwin's law and emotion laden hyperbole, I think the (poor) argument he was trying to make was that despotism is viewed favorably because it's targeted towards only progressives.

I hate to break it to you, but Godwin's Law no longer applies, especially given how Godwin himself feels about several of Trump's actions.

@vl4d_l3nin said:

Feds defending federal buildings? Fascism!

Kidnapping protesters in unmarked vehicles and uniforms? A savior of democracy! /s

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#26 nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 39199 Posts

Thank the gods for the ACLU, one of the few defenders left in American democracy.

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Zaryia

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#27  Edited By Zaryia
Member since 2016 • 17307 Posts

@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

I have sympathy for the Republican zones that are getting huge spikes due to failed Republican policy of quick re-opening or being light (or even contrarian) on mask mandates.

Tribalism is no good.

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#28 LJS9502_basic
Member since 2003 • 174756 Posts

@KungfuKitten said:
@nintendoboy16 said:

So much for state's rights then...

It's a failed city. They had over 45 days of riots and weren't doing anything about it. I think this is the best way to do something about it. In direct confrontation it could lead to a lot of bloodshed. For all the bad things people say about Trump he does avoid all-out conflict a lot.

No it's not. Can't see why anyone wants a militarized country but the conservatives seem to support it.

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#29 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@zaryia said:
@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

I have sympathy for the Republican zones that are getting huge spikes due to failed Republican policy of quick re-opening or being light (or even contrarian) on mask mandates.

Tribalism is no good.

What does this have to do with the subject? Please stay on the topic, thank you.

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#30 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@nintendoboy16: Video I saw had the uniforms marked, but no names because they were being targeted (doxed?). Is there a video with agents without uniforms marked?

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#31 YearoftheSnake5
Member since 2005 • 9574 Posts

I expect these kinds of tactics in China, not the USA. Scary stuff.

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#32 LJS9502_basic
Member since 2003 • 174756 Posts
@YearoftheSnake5 said:

I expect these kinds of tactics in China, not the USA. Scary stuff.

Which is why I think the GOP needs to go. They are far from the ideals of the founding now.

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#33  Edited By Zaryia
Member since 2016 • 17307 Posts

@Chutebox said:
@zaryia said:
@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

I have sympathy for the Republican zones that are getting huge spikes due to failed Republican policy of quick re-opening or being light (or even contrarian) on mask mandates.

Tribalism is no good.

What does this have to do with the subject? Please stay on the topic, thank you.

The second sentence has directly to do with your two posts, the first sentence was just an example of the opposite.

Just because XYZ city screwed up (in your opinion) you should still have sympathy, if you're a true American.

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#34 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@zaryia said:
@Chutebox said:
@zaryia said:
@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

I have sympathy for the Republican zones that are getting huge spikes due to failed Republican policy of quick re-opening or being light (or even contrarian) on mask mandates.

Tribalism is no good.

What does this have to do with the subject? Please stay on the topic, thank you.

The second sentence has directly to do with your two posts, the first sentence was just an example of the opposite.

Just because XYZ city screwed up (in your opinion) you should still have sympathy, if you're a true American.

Sir, you're in a thread about Portland. Your comment has nothing to do with Portland. Please stop derailing the thread.

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#35 HoolaHoopMan
Member since 2009 • 13306 Posts

So you wanted to quell unrest in a city? What better way than kidnapping their supporters in full view of cameras which will give them exactly what they were looking for i.e. kidnapping people reeks of fascist police state.

There exists an area where we can be against the constant protesting in Portland and see that kidnapping civilians by unmarked agents is a bad thing. Shocking, I know.

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#36 mattbbpl  Online
Member since 2006 • 21250 Posts

@ad1x2: "And here comes social media to the rescue to bring the Hitler comparisons, which some of you eat up like an unsupervised toddler with cake and ice cream in front of them."

Yeah, its ridiculous. Doing things the man did doesn't mean comparisons between the two can be made.

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#37  Edited By Zaryia
Member since 2016 • 17307 Posts

@Chutebox said: Please stop derailing the thread.

My comment was 100% in response to your comment that you have no sympathy for Portland. That's un-American and super tribal.

If you don't want someone directly responding to your silly comment don't make the silly comment.

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#38 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@zaryia said:
@Chutebox said: Please stop derailing the thread.

My comment was 100% in response to your comment that you have no sympathy for Portland. That's un-American and super tribal.

If you don't want someone directly responding to your silly comment don't make the silly comment.

I'm sorry, this seems completely unrelated to Portland. Why is it so hard to stay on topic?

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Zaryia

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#39  Edited By Zaryia
Member since 2016 • 17307 Posts

@Chutebox said:

I'm sorry, this seems completely unrelated to Portland. Why is it so hard to stay on topic?

Lets rewind.

@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

That's super tribal and un-American.

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#40 mattbbpl  Online
Member since 2006 • 21250 Posts

@Chutebox: Because it's a direct response to your comment about the city (implying that it's callous).

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#41 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@zaryia said:
@Chutebox said:

I'm sorry, this seems completely unrelated to Portland. Why is it so hard to stay on topic?

Lets rewind.

@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

That's super tribal and un-American.

Sir! Bringing up a party in a thread about a city is off topic. Don't you think you've derailed this enough?

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#42  Edited By Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts
@mattbbpl said:

@Chutebox: Because it's a direct response to your comment about the city (implying that it's callous).

Bringing up other cities, republicans, and covid in a thread about Portland is on topic? News to me!

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Zaryia

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#43 Zaryia
Member since 2016 • 17307 Posts

@Chutebox said:
@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

That's super tribal and un-American.

Sir! Bringing up a party in a thread about a city is off topic. Don't you think you've derailed this enough?

Is this gas-lighting? I directly replied to a post you made.

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#44 LJS9502_basic
Member since 2003 • 174756 Posts

@zaryia said:
@Chutebox said:

Sir! Bringing up a party in a thread about a city is off topic. Don't you think you've derailed this enough?

Is this gas-lighting? I directly replied to a post you made.

It's called bait and switch. When you can't respond........divert.

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#45 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@zaryia said:
@Chutebox said:
@Xabiss said:
@Chutebox said:

I have zero sympathy for that city.

Agreed

That's super tribal and un-American.

Sir! Bringing up a party in a thread about a city is off topic. Don't you think you've derailed this enough?

Is this gas-lighting? I directly replied to a post you made.

Does your post have anything to do with Portland? Yes or no

Please cross one out.

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#46 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts
@LJS9502_basic said:
@zaryia said:
@Chutebox said:

Sir! Bringing up a party in a thread about a city is off topic. Don't you think you've derailed this enough?

Is this gas-lighting? I directly replied to a post you made.

It's called bait and switch. When you can't respond........divert.

I love that you're coming to his aid. So cute.

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#47  Edited By ad1x2
Member since 2005 • 8430 Posts

@mattbbpl said:

@ad1x2: "And here comes social media to the rescue to bring the Hitler comparisons, which some of you eat up like an unsupervised toddler with cake and ice cream in front of them."

Yeah, its ridiculous. Doing things the man did doesn't mean comparisons between the two can be made.

I'm not going to pretend that there are zero mistakes being made when it comes to whatever the feds are doing. But I'm also not going to pretend that sending in federal forces when the local leadership is not enforcing the law because they're worried about being called racist is some slippery slope that will eventually lead to Trump stuffing immigrants and minorities into trains to be gassed.

The people saying that are just trying to scare undecided voters into voting for Biden and to pretend otherwise is ignoring all previous comparisons to Hitler that were made about Trump, to include this recent USA Today fact check. You want to convince undecided voters to vote for Biden, then stick to the facts rather than the Hitler comparisons because the only people that believe them are the people that already decided to vote against him long ago.

You tell me why the reaction some politicians (not protestors) had to the riots was to paint Black Lives Matter in front of the White House and Trump Tower instead of in front of a police station since the movement is supposedly for the ending of police brutality. Meanwhile, over a dozen black people have been killed during the protests and riots that followed Floyd's murder and officers in some places are being ordered to step aside.

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#48 mattbbpl  Online
Member since 2006 • 21250 Posts

@Chutebox: This is how a conversation works. There's a flow and context.

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#49  Edited By Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 48319 Posts

@mattbbpl said:

@Chutebox: This is how a conversation works. There's a flow and context.

There was no flow to his post. He took it completely off topic by using other examples to attack me personally. Off topic.

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#50 Willy105
Member since 2005 • 25783 Posts

Terrifying stuff. Hopefully there are full investigations when new people take over.