Trump’s fetishization of authoritarian regimes and measures grows more apparent with each passing day. His call over the past few days to crack down on the First Amendment rights of news networks whose coverage is unflattering of him is unnerving not only for its content and intent but also its blatancy. Trump is no longer even pretending to care about the Constitution.
His weaponization of Homeland Security to round up undocumented immigrants is another prong in his attack on civil liberties, and yesterday saw one of the most disturbing episodes yet.
Activists from the End Deportations Now Collaboration organization gathered outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland to protest ICE’s increasing crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, reports Oregon Live. They intended to block a bus that was ferrying detainees to another location.
Police arrived on the scene to arrest the protestors and ended up hooding and forcing earmuffs on some of the protestors.
The National Lawyers Guild provided a photo:
Happening now in Portland: Homeland Security is hooding and ear muffing protestors. pic.twitter.com/GZLge9TPhn
— NLG Portland (@NLG_Portland) October 12, 2017
Police claim the hoods and muffs were to protect the protestors as they used power tools to cut the chains binding the protestors together in a human wall. One of the protestors, Amina Rahman, told Oregon Live that one officer tied a tourniquet around her arm and told her it would stop the bleeding if they accidentally cut her with their tools.
Rahman added she didn’t hear any loud tools, and that she believes the hood and earmuffs were just a scare tactic.
A spokesman for the Portland Police told Oregon Live that the tools used to destroy the chains (composed of plastic pipe, yarn, fabric, chicken wire, steel bolts, and chains) sometimes spark and that the hoods were flame retardant and intended to protect the protestors.
Regardless of the veracity of the department’s claims, the incident represents a disturbing trend towards further domestic militarization. Trump is wielding ICE like a blunt tool to target minorities and aid in his national scapegoating of Hispanics and immigrants for all of the country’s problems. It’s part of a broader, racist campaign to incite his predominantly white base.
The protestors were forcibly removed from the scene, and the detainee bus was able to continue to its destination.