These protests, which are part of a nationwide movement against police brutality and racism, have become increasingly kinetic. Some protesters threw fireworks and other objects at law enforcement officers protecting the federal court. Law enforcement officers have responded with tear gas and other controversial tactics.
The DHS sent officials to Portland earlier this month to protect the courthouse. But viral videos have captured her officials, who appear to have arrested protesters for no apparent reason. They put on military clothes and didn’t wear badges with their names or agencies – which creates the appearance of an occupying power. Local Portland officials condemned the presence of the DHS and said it made the protests even more intense.
It is not the first time that the I&A office, which shares information with state and local partners, is being scrutinized. When Murphy took command there, I & A formed a team that focused on domestic terrorism, including white supremacists. The small office, one of the 17 agencies of the secret services, has been struggling with moral problems for years.
Murphy, an FBI veteran before moving to the DHS, had headed the office as an actor since May. Its removal is unlikely to suppress the DHS’s scorching criticism of its response to the protests, but it is still a significant step. Murphy did not respond to the search for a comment on his removal.