Federal officers detain protesters at U.S. ICE facility during eviction
PORTLAND, Ore. – Federal officers detained nine people while evicting protesters from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Portland Thursday.
Protesters tried creating human barriers in front of the driveway to the federal facility, but eventually disbanded.
Federal officials say for the most part, the eviction had been peaceful, but they took seven people into custody. All of them were cited on a misdemeanor charge for "failing to comply with directions given by law enforcement officers and blocking the building’s entrances." They were all released.
Another man was arrested for driving up to officers and failing to comply with orders.
He exited his vehicle with his hands up in the air and gave the officers the keys to his vehicle.
Police said they later found airsoft replica guns in the back of his car. He was released without being charged.
A ninth person was detained by federal law enforcement and is being processed at the Multnomah County Detention Center on a charge of interfering with a police officer, officials said.
Federal officials say they are only trying to clear the driveway and entryways of the facility. There is no need to remove the campers that are located nearby, but off federal property.
Portland officers were doing traffic control during Thursday morning’s sweep, despite a vow from the Bureau and Mayor Ted Wheeler that police would not interfere with the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly outside the ICE facility.
A spokesperson for Federal Protective Services said the federal officers will stay at the building to make sure "employees and the public can safely conduct business at the facility."
Neighbors living near the protest camp and ICE building had mixed reactions to the sweep.
Bobby Simons said she understands demonstrators' frustration with policies that separated families from their children.
"You know, the damage that it does to separate. And I couldn't help but think of times when my daughter was little and suddenly I couldn't find her. You know, that moment when you just panic," said Simons.
But other neighbors say occupying federal property goes beyond simply demonstrating against federal policies the demonstrators disagree with.
"I think a lot of people in the community are just a little bit upset about all of the distraction that's going on. You know, they're playing loud music at night, and just really upset about it," said neighbor John Kirkpatrick. "I think it's good. I hope they just end it, honestly."
While federal officers moved protestors off of the federal property, the encampment still covers the Willamette Shore Trolley line which ends at the site.
The non-profit trolley's general manager said Thursday that the Portland mayor's office returned a call asking for help to move the demonstrators and open the trolley stop.
The Willamette Shore Trolley begins it's summer season Friday, with the first run scheduled for noon.