The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon on Friday called actions of federal officers against protesters in the northwestern city of Portland “flat-out unconstitutional.”
“What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of ACLU Oregon. “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping.”
Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli speaking on NPR’s “All Things Considered” Friday said federal agents had used unmarked vehicles to pick up people in Portland. But he said it was done to keep officers safe and away from crowds and to move detainees to a "safe location for questioning."
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Friday he wants President Donald Trump to remove the militarized federal officers. “Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Wheeler said following reports that the officers had apprehended people in Portland who were not on federal property.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she is filing a lawsuit against the federal government for detaining people without probable cause.
Crowds protested Friday for the 51st consecutive night since late May. Federal officers again were reported to have used tear gas against the demonstrators.
On Thursday, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, who was in Portland meeting with federal law enforcement officials, issued a statement calling the protesters “violent anarchists.”
Oregon officials have voiced strong opposition to President Trump’s deployment of Department of Homeland Security officers to Portland.
This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety. The President is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government. https://t.co/PdlZkmW0mQ— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 16, 2020
Gov. Kate Brown stated Thursday that Trump was looking for a confrontation in hopes of winning political points with his base.
Brown revealed she had told Wolf to remove all federal officers from Portland’s streets, saying that Wolf was “putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.” In response to Wolf’s and the DHS leadership’s visit on Thursday, Wheeler, the city's mayor, stated: “We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t.”
A number of people have asked if I know DHS leadership is in town, and if I’m going to meet with them. We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t. We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were , we would decline.— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 16, 2020
Wheeler also responded to news about the White House press secretary reportedly telling Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to request federal help to secure the city.
“This is clearly a coordinated strategy from the White House,” Wheeler stated Thursday. “It is irresponsible and it is escalating an already tense situation. Remove your heightened troop presence now.”
The ACLU of Oregon Friday sued the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service to block federal law enforcement from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of legal observers and local journalists and adds the federal agencies to an existing lawsuit the organization filed last month against local law enforcement.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that Andrew Jankowski, a freelance journalist, was booked and released from the Multnomah County Detention Center early Friday.
Jankowski’s arrest comes a day after U.S. District Judge Michael Simon extended to October 30 an injunction blocking such action by law enforcement.