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Portland City Council votes to leave Joint Terrorism Task Force, cites sanctuary status and investigation of Antifa
Image source: KGW-TV video screenshot

Portland City Council votes to leave Joint Terrorism Task Force, cites sanctuary status and investigation of Antifa

Narrow vote

The Portland, Oregon, City Council voted to pull out of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force on Wednesday, after rejoining the partnership four years ago. Commissioners voiced their distrust of the agency and of President Donald Trump in arguing for the withdrawal, which will end the cooperation between local police and federal law enforcement.

What are the details?

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that the 3-2 decision came after a push led by new Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who won election in November on a pledge to protect the city's sanctuary status.

"For a whole year, I talked about this on the campaign trail, and everywhere I went, people were concerned about whether or not their data was collected and used in a way that was against Oregon state law," Hardesty said. "We are here today because I am about keeping promises."

Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Chloe Eudaly joined Hardesty in voting for the withdrawal.

"The current president has made clear his animosity toward Muslims, immigrants and people of color," Fritz reasoned to the council. "I found it hard to trust the JTTF under President [Barack] Obama. It's impossible now."

According to the Willamette Week, opponents of the partnership also voiced concern over the FBI's investigations of left-leaning activist groups like Antifa, and argued that cooperation with the feds hadn't been effective enough in stopping terrorist attacks in Portland or elsewhere.

"The city of Boston's participation in the JTTF did not prevent the Boston Marathon bombing," Fritz noted.

Eudaly told KOIN-TV ahead of the vote that she was concerned about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's participation in the partnership.

Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Nick Fish voted against the withdrawal, saying that working with the FBI gives local law enforcement a heads up on potential threats.

Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw agreed, issuing a statement voicing her support for continuing participation in the JTTF and warned that pulling out would mean "we may be walled off from the day-to-day information from other agencies that is vital to protecting our community."

Portland has had an on-again, off-again relationship with JTTF, according to the Oregonian. The city first joined in 1997, left in 2005, rejoined in a limited capacity in 2011 and restored its full participation in 2015. It now has 90 days to leave the task force again.

Anything else?

According to Hot Air, "Portland has a serious problem with Antifa goons" wreaking havoc in the city. Clashes between the so-called "anti-fascist" activists and counter-demonstrators have often turned violent.

On Thursday, Commissioner Hardesty accused Portland cops of working "in collusion with right-wing extremists" after the Willamette Week reported it had obtained texts allegedly showing a chummy relationship between a police lieutenant and a right-wing organizer. The newspaper acknowledged that the same officer had "texted extensively with at least one Antifa protester" in the past, and noted that "Portland police officers attempt to reach out to all groups the bureau knows plan to demonstrate in Portland."

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