Today’s headlines examine the shifting behavior of federal law enforcement officers across the United States. Yesterday, the FBI arrested the Ohio House Speaker in one of the “largest public corruption cases” in the state’s history, and federal agents are investigating the attempted murder of a federal judge in New Jersey. Yet federal agents are also being deployed in less traditional ways in Oregon, Illinois, and potentially New York, in order to quell social unrest following several high profile murders of Black people by local law enforcement and their affiliates. These headlines are selected from the front pages curated by Newseum.org. Indigenous Territory names and Treaty information are taken from the Native Land map.
“US Navy 010717-N-1350W-001 NCIS agent prepares sting operation,” U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jim Watson, available in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
On Tuesday, federal agents arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four of his colleagues, including a former Ohio Republican Party chair and a well-connected Columbus lobbyist. Their charges are all related to an alleged “criminal enterprise” dedicated to securing a bailout for two of the state’s nuclear power plants, expected to cost the state's utility customers $1 billion.
FBI agents in Newark identified a suspect in a double shooting in Middlesex County hours after the attack, which left a 20 year-old dead and his 63 year-old father wounded on Sunday evening. The mother of the deceased, U.S. district judge Esther Salas, is believed to have been the intended target but was not hurt. The suspect, a New York attorney involved in lawsuits alleging gender discrimination against men, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Monday.
“Portland Police Protest” by user joanbrown51, available in the public domain, courtesy of Needpix.
Acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf defended the presence and actions of federal law enforcement in Portland on Tuesday, telling local leaders that “if you did your job from a local perspective, we wouldn’t be there.” The federal agents have drawn the ire of the mayor, governor, and growing crowds of protestors, who decry the agents’ use of force and operation far away from federal property.
After threatening to sue Donald Trump if he deployed federal agents in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Tuesday that the city would be working with federal agents to fight violent crime and drug cases, but that they “do not welcome dictatorship.” Lightfoot claimed that “at this point,” the roughly 150 agents would not resemble those in Portland, where unidentified federal agents in camouflage uniforms have battled protestors.
On Monday, President Trump praised the actions of federal law enforcement officers in Portland, and said he would consider a similar deployment in other cities “run by liberal Democrats,” like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore. The next day, Mayor Bill de Blasio responded that he was not expecting Trump to follow through on the threat, but that if they did, the city would sue.
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