The U.S. Conference of Mayors – of which New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, a Democrat, holds a leadership position – has issued a statement condemning the Trump Administration for deploying federal law enforcement officers to some of the cities most impacted by violent demonstrations and rioting that continues more than two months after the death of George Floyd.

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The mayors are "outraged by and oppose the unrequested deployment of federal law enforcement officers" to places like Portland, Oregon where the federal courthouse is under siege nightly by violent militants. The mayors say the presence of the federal officers has "led to increased violence in the streets. Further, it terrorized peaceful demonstrators."

The mayors refer to the deployment as an "invasion" and the anarchists as "peaceful demonstrators."


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The hundreds of "peaceful demonstrators" I have seen on television and the internet day after day wear black clothes and masks and are armed with guns, Molotov cocktails, commercial-grade fireworks, tasers, lasers, bricks, bottles, and whatever else they can find to assault law enforcement officials while attempting to burn the federal courthouse.

Mitchell and the others see the same images yet refuse to condemn the violence. They chose instead to condemn Trump for trying to bring an end to the madness.

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The mayors also accuse the federal officers of arresting residents "without probable cause," something the Department of Homeland Security says is absurd.

Mayor Mitchell needs to explain his support of such nonsense. He is a former federal prosecutor and should be better than this foolish rhetoric he endorses.

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Imagine if the same "peaceful demonstrators" were to attack the federal building in downtown New Bedford. Would Mitchell allow them to rampage for more than 60 days like Portland's Ted Wheeler has done? Or would Mitchell welcome federal help to quell the violence? His track record so far suggests otherwise.

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Mitchell has appeased local protesters while issuing statements lashing out at law enforcement.

"Despite improvements in police training and recruitment in the last fifty years, the more recent drumbeat of videos depicting the brutalization of African Americans at the hands of police officers has destroyed any notion that racism has been eradicated from America’s police departments," Mitchell said in a statement back in the spring.

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Mayor Mitchell, the public is growing increasingly weary of elected officials who chose to defend anarchy and chaos over law and order. Your rhetoric is not reflective of the attitude of the people you have been elected to represent.

Nor is it reflective of the truth.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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