After a barricade of moms and "leaf-blower dads," a group of veterans joined the protesters after feds brutally injured a 53-year-old Navy veteran last week.
After President Trump deployed federal officers in Portland who began whisking away protesters from the streets in unmarked vehicles, several residents decided to take matters into their own hands. First, a 'Wall of Moms' formed a barricade to protect hundreds of protesters from federal officers. Donning bike helmets and yellow t-shirts, dozens of moms stood arm-in-arm and chanted, "Feds stay clear! Moms are here!"
The moms are facing the federal courthouse, and the crowd is behind them. The Justice Center, which PPB (and sometimes MCSO) attack from, is also behind them. pic.twitter.com/09nsskEqAh— Lindsey Smith (she/her) (@LindseyPSmith7) July 19, 2020
They were later joined by a 'DadBloc', with dads' wearing orange t-shirts to complement the moms' yellow shirts. Also dubbed as "Leaf-Blower Dads", the group of fathers fashioned a tear gas deflector using leaf-blowers to redirect the cloud of tear gas from the demonstrators. Now, a group of military veterans on Friday joined the front lines of the Portland protests, the New York Times reports. The veterans were in front of a fence erected outside the federal courthouse and they stayed together until a cloud of tear gas scattered much of the crowd.
For the 1st time last night the Portland Dad Brigade came out to protest. Everyone in orange is a Dad.— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) July 22, 2020
Moms around the country are organizing local Walls of Moms. Dads around the country, we need you too.pic.twitter.com/c0LJ0tvoNh
The 'Wall of Vets' was organized by Navy veterans Tessa Terry and her husband Leshan Terry, who were shocked by the amount of tear gas deployed by the federal forces. They felt compelled to organize this after seeing the heartbreaking viral video of the feds beating a Navy veteran with batons. The video showed 53-year-old Christopher David being beaten and tear-gassed.
David, who was horrified at the behavior of federal agents, wanted to know if the officers remembered their oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Thus, on 18 July, the graduate of the US Naval Academy and former member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, arrived at the protest outside the federal courthouse to ask that question.
Dear @TheJusticeDept & @DHS_Wolf:— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 25, 2020
Veterans are not the enemy.
Moms and dads are not the enemy.
Americans are not the enemy.
The people will continue to rise up in greater numbers to oppose your unwanted invasion of Portland. Take your stormtroopers and go home.#WallOfVets https://t.co/xjYBb8pIf5
At first, David kept his distance and watched from the sidelines as he had a myriad of health problems. Just as he was about to leave, the federal officers began knocking a line of protesters nearby onto the ground. David found himself walking towards a gap in the line. "Why are you not honoring your oath?" he asked. "Why are you not honoring your oath to the Constitution?"
In retaliation, several officers used their weapons to push him away. This caused David to stumble backward but as he regained momentum and tried again, one agent used his baton to beat the veteran who stood there with his arms at his sides. Soon, another federal agent was seen throwing a canister of chemical irritant spray at him.
Federal police strike protester with baton, use pepper spray and tear gas outside courthouse in Portland pic.twitter.com/VX2xTVaaYq— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) July 19, 2020
Unable to handle the burning sensation in his eyes, David decided to walk away. At the hospital, he was told that his right hand had two fractured bones. He was immediately hailed as a hero on social media but David dismissed the titles, saying, "It’s just us normal people out there. There was a whole group of pregnant moms standing out there linking arms and they got gassed. You hear people like [President] Trump say it’s just a bunch of wacko fringe people in liberal cities who are out there, but no way. We’re all just normal people who think what’s happening is wrong."
ABUSE is not HELP— MURRAY 🗽 (@murray_nyc) July 19, 2020
Trump saying the #TrumpGestapo is trying to "help" Portland is like kidnappers saying they are trying to help their victims. Rolling into a city (unasked) & deploying anonymous "officers" who round up people & throw them into unmarked vehicles sounds criminal.
As Trump and the Department of Homeland Security continue calling the Portland protesters as "violent anarchists," the residents show no sign of backing down. Even local officials have asked federal agents to back off, saying their presence has only increased the ongoing tension, according to The New York Times. Portland's Mayor Ted Wheeler called the response of federal officers as "outrageous", saying, "I saw nothing which provoked this response".
Trump mocks what he doesn't understand, an elected official standing with his people.— Katherine Davies (@Kath1967Kd) July 25, 2020
He made a fool out of himself’: Trump mocks tear gassing of Portland Mayor during protests https://t.co/EMBl6SDzEs
Michelle Heisler, the medical director of Physicians for Human Rights, warned against the excessive use of CS gas or 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, which has been classified as a chemical weapon. While its use has been banned on battlefields by almost every country, including the United States, it is legal for it to be used domestically. However, Heisler revealed that agents are only supposed to fire the gas canisters once or twice, contrary to what the feds have been doing. "The people here are not dispersing, so these federal officials are just launching massive amounts of it. It can blind people. It can kill people through chemical burns — especially people who have asthma or other lung diseases. This is dangerous stuff," added Heisler.