US federal agents’ actions against protesters reviewed

The Inspector General for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the launch of a probe into actions of federal law enforcement agents against protesters in two cities.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement on Thursday that his office is initiating a review to “examine the DOJ’s and its law enforcement components’ roles and responsibilities in responding to protest activity and civil unrest in Washington D.C., and in Portland, Oregon over the prior two months”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The review “will include examining the training and instruction that was provided to the DOJ law enforcement personnel; compliance with applicable identification requirements, rules of engagement, and legal authorities; and adherence to DOJ policies regarding the use of less-lethal munitions, chemical agents, and other uses of force”.

Demonstrations against police brutality and racism erupted across the US following the death of George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Some of the demonstrations have triggered violent clashes with police, vandalism, arson and looting.

On June 1, federal agents cleared Lafayette Square, located north of the White House, before US President Donald Trump and senior officials walked to a nearby church that had been vandalized.

Horowitz said that the incident will be reviewed with the Interior Department inspector general’s office.

In Portland, nightly demonstrations have continued for nearly two months marked by frequent clashes between police and protesters.

Last week, Trump dispatched federal agents to Portland over the objections of state and local officials.

On Wednesday, the President announced that his administration was sending a “surge” of federal agents to Chicago as part of a plan to drive down what he called “violent crime”.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, US Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security will send hundreds of agents to the city, according to the administration.