The cities of Oakland and Portland, Oregon have sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, alleging that the agencies are overstepping constitutional limits in their use of federal law enforcement officers to tamp down on protests.

The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, cites the deployment of U.S. agents this summer to quell protests in Portland and alleges the U.S. Marshals Service unlawfully deputized dozens of local Portland police officers as federal agents despite objections from city officials. The federal deputations have meant protesters arrested by local police could face federal charges, which generally carry stiffer penalties.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.