Protesters Sue Trump Administration for Federal Response to Portland Riots

PORTLAND, OREGON - JULY 27: Federal police face off with protesters in front of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland as the city experiences another night of unrest on July 27, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. For over 57 straight nights, protesters in downtown Portland have faced off …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Leftists who have taken part in riots in Portland, Oregon, for two months filed suit against the Trump administration for sending federal law enforcement to the city to protect federal property.

Antifa and people linked to the radical left Black Lives Matter political organization have on a nightly basis tried to breach barricades set up to protect the federal courthouse in Portland.

The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of the Minneapolis in May but have devolved into riots across the country that have destroyed property, injuring police officers and even resulted in deaths of Americans. 

National Public Radio (NPR) reported on the lawsuit:

The group of organizations and individuals filed a nine-count complaint on Monday against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, its leaders and several other federal agencies, whom they accuse of violating protesters’ constitutionally protected freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable seizures, and right to due process, by deploying federal agents to unlawfully “quash Plaintiffs’ speech and end their protests.”

The lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by several law firms and Protect Democracy, a left-wing litigation organization. 

NPR also reported the law firms are also representing Black Lives Matter.

The plaintiffs allege that the conduct of those federal agents are meant: “to intimidate and silence protesters because of their message.”

“In the complaint, they describe seeing DHS agents injure peaceful protesters, make arrests without probable cause and use otherwise violent tactics — of which the plaintiffs themselves were repeatedly on the receiving end,” NPR reported.

“They have been tear-gassed night after night, left vomiting and unable to eat or sleep because of the toxic poison blasted at them,” the complaint reads. “They have been shot at over and over — with rubber bullets, bean bags, pepper spray, and a range of other projectiles fired at close range and with brutal effect. They have had flash-bang explosive devices detonated right in front of them. They have been forced to speak and assemble in fear of not just bodily harm, but the possibility of sudden arrest without probable cause.”

“Our clients in Portland are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. Federal law enforcement should not be attacking these brave women for speaking up for what they believe,” Deana El-Mallawany, counsel at Protect Democracy, said in the NPR report.” The intent of the administration’s deployment of federal agents in Portland appears to be to stifle speech the president doesn’t like. It’s important to check this unlawful administration policy now, before it is allowed to spread to other cities across the U.S.”

In a statement released on Monday, DHS said conditions in Portland represent a “dangerous and vicious situation.”

“State and local officials say the federal agents’ presence has shifted the conversation and exacerbated tensions, and are increasingly calling for their removal,” NPR reported.

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