President Donald Trump sent the federal agents to Portland, claiming protesters there were “anarchists who hate our Country.” But footage from the incident showed former Army medic Mike Hastie presenting no threat; he was just speaking his mind in the street when an unidentified fatigue-clad agent sprayed him in the face with what appeared to be pepper spray or a similar substance.
The scene, captured on video by journalist Andrew Kimmel, showed a federal agent holding the canister just inches from Hastie’s face, then shoving him out of the way:
Another photographer on the scene said Hastie “was incapacitated for a good amount of time and needed several flushes of water before he could start walking.”
In one of the clips, Hastie said he was born in 1945, making him either 74 or 75 years old.
Veterans for Peace said Hastie was a member of their organization and a lifelong activist, and urged federal forces to #StandDown:
The anti-Trump progressive veterans group VoteVets also shared the footage:
Trump has responded to the demonstrations by attacking the protesters, calling them “radical-left criminals” and ordering federal agents to restore peace while dressed in combat gear. The president has also threatened to send up to 75,000 agents to other cities.
Last week, more than two dozen Democrats in the Senate sent Trump a letter demanding answers about his decision to send federal agents to squash protests in Portland.
“Critically, it remains unclear what legal authorities the federal government has invoked for its militarized interventions in American cities,” the letter noted.