That's when AG Bill Barr stepped in and displayed a legal judo move, using leverage gained from--this is true--the Obama DoJ.
As background, you may recall that a common tactic of the Obama/Holder DoJ was to sue Left city police departments and then enter into "consent decrees" that limited the ability of the police to address crime in their cities. However, one thing that these consent decrees failed to foresee was the use of widescale street violence--i.e., rioting with indiscriminate violence and destruction and targeting of law enforcement--as a deliberate political tactic deployed by Left local politicians. They probably never foresaw Republicans winning a presidential election ever again, having seen to that, as they thought, through their domestic spying program. As a result, the consent decrees left standard crowd control tactics in place, probably for use against possible protests by "white supremacists", i.e, domestic political dissent.
Shipwreckedcrew, who has been covering the rioting in Portland, and now Seattle, explains what happened next:
As it turns out, back in 2011 the Seattle Police Department and City of Seattle were sued by the Obama Justice Department over the issue of unlawful use of force, and inadequate training of Seattle PD Officers on the use of force.
Rather than fight the suit, Seattle entered into what is called a “Consent Decree” to end the litigation. This involves a written agreement between the parties wherein the defendant — Seattle — agreed to amend its policy and training in a way that satisfied DOJ. But the settlement also made Seattle PD subject [to] continued monitoring under the authority of the federal court to ensure compliance by Seattle PD with the newly adopted policy and training requirements.
One provision of the agreement prohibited the City of Seattle or the Seattle Police Department from modifying its agreed-upon use of force policy without the approval of DOJ and the Monitor appointed by the Court to ensure compliance by the defendants with the terms of the consent decree.
But approximately five weeks ago, in the aftermath of the original protests that led to the establishment of “CHAZ” in the Capitol Hill section of downtown Seattle, the City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the use of tear gas and other crowd-dispersal munitions by the Seattle Police Department. The City Council took that action without first obtaining the permission of DOJ or the Court-appointed Monitor. That was behind the move by DOJ to seek a TRO prohibiting the City of Seattle from enforcing the new use of force policy through the Seattle Police Department.
But this morning United States Attorney [General] Bill Barr reminded Seattle that it has at least one more interested party to satisfy with regard to justifying its change in policy. Late tonight Judge Robart agreed with DOJ, and prohibited enforcement of the same policy he insisted go into effect just a few days ago.
All these legal proceedings took place against the backdrop of the letter sent by Police Chief Best to business owners and residents in Seattle.
In another positive legal development spearheaded by Barr's DoJ, a federal judge in Portland tossed the lawsuit by the Oregon AG, which had attempted to restrict federal law enforcement activity in Portland. The judge pointedly noted how factually threadbare the complaint was, unsupported by virtually any evidence.
This follows the DoJ announcement yesterday that 18 people in Portland were being charged with various rioting related offenses, such as assaulting federal officers. Again, Shipwreckedcrew points out an interesting twist to this. Because Oregon is a small state, population wise, it consists of only a single federal judicial district. This means that the US Attorney for that district can draw for his jury pool on the entire state of Oregon. A quick glance at a precinct based map of the 2016 election results suggests that an Oregon jury--as opposed to a Portland jury--might not be so reflexively sympathetic to the rioters who have been charged. Indeed, one wonders how sympathetic many Portland residents may actually be at this point. Even a few jaded residents could make a big difference if the USA in Portland handles jury selection as he should.
So, we can expect federal officers to continue searching out instigators and leaders in the rioting, and to continue to make targeted arrests.