Judge rejects Oregon attempt to arrest federal agents in unmarked cars stopping protesters.


Federal Police guard the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland on July 24, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A Portland federal judge rejected a motion from the Oregon attorney general seeking to impose restrictions on federal agents who clashed with protesters in the city and even pulled some people off the streets while driving undercover vehicles. The Ellen Rosenblum lawsuit called for a restraining order that would prevent federal agents from arresting people without probable cause and require them to clearly identify themselves and who they worked with before taking anyone into custody during protests that took place. took place in the city for almost two months.

US District Judge Michael W. Mosman said the state lacks standing to bring a lawsuit because it failed to demonstrate that the matter was “of a specific state interest itself. even”. The judge also noted that the trial was “very unusual with a particular set of rules.” This was in part because the state had filed a lawsuit on behalf of its residents, but no protester was complaining in the case. In addition, the state was trying to obtain a restraining order to prevent future injuries to federal agents rather than “repairing any damage to protesters,” the judge wrote.

Rosenblum said she was “quite disappointed” with the decision. “If I don’t have a standing position, I’m not sure who does,” Rosenblum said. But legal experts had warned that could happen and said that a lawsuit brought by someone alleging federal agents violated their constitutional rights would be more likely to succeed. “The federal government has acted in violation of the rights of these individuals and has probably acted in violation of the Constitution by exercising powers that are reserved for the states, but it is not because the federal government is acting in a way that exceeds its authority. the state has an injury, ”Michael Dorf, professor of constitutional law at Cornell University, told The Associated Press. Rosenblum, however, insisted the judge’s rejection was “troubling” because while individuals can sue for damages “they cannot get a judge to restrict this unlawful conduct more generally.”

Shortly after the judge made the ruling, thousands of protesters again gathered in downtown Portland in what “was the largest crowd since the first weeks of protests that began 58 years ago. days, ”the Oregonian notes. Protesters fired fireworks at the Federal Courthouse and protests continued for hours until federal agents began firing tear gas at point blank range early in the morning to disperse the crowds. It was not known if any of the protesters had been arrested after federal agents declared the rally “an illegal gathering.” One person was found stabbed near the protests and a suspect was taken into custody.

Prosecutors on Friday unveiled charges against 18 protesters in Portland, including assaults on police and arson. The charges were filed a day after the Trump administration decided to send a team of tactical police officers to Seattle over objections from the city’s mayor and the governor of Washington.

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