Federal agents infiltrated Portland’s unruly racial justice protests, dressing to blend in and capturing clandestine video. The tactics raised internal concern.
By Mike Baker, Sergio Olmos and Adam Goldman, December 22, 2021
PORTLAND, Ore. — In the hours after President Biden’s inauguration this year, protesters marched once again through the streets of Portland, Ore., sending a message that putting a Democrat in the White House would not resolve their problems with a system of policing and corporate wealth that they saw as fundamentally unfair.
“No cops, no prisons, total abolition,” they chanted. Some of the activists, dressed in the trademark uniform of solid black clothing and masks that often signals a readiness to make trouble without being readily identifiable, smashed windows at the local Democratic Party headquarters.
The event — like others that had consumed the city since the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020 — included a variety of anarchists, antifascists, communists and racial justice activists. But there were others mingling in the crowd that day: plainclothes agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.