Portland protesters file lawsuit against U.S. government

The plaintiffs include Don’t Shoot Portland, Wall of Moms, and five individual Black Lives Matter protesters

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Seven plaintiffs out of Portland have filed a lawsuit against members of the Trump administration.

The group believes that the federal government perpetrated violence and intimidation against them as they demonstrated against systemic racism and police brutality. 

READ MORE: US agents use gas, flash bangs to clear Portland protesters

The plaintiffs include Don’t Shoot Portland, Wall of Moms, and five individual Black Lives Matter protesters. They are being represented by numerous attorneys including Protect Democracy — a group of leading legal experts who work to prevent corruption in elections and prevent the government from being able to quash dissent, among other things. 

The defendants listed include the heads of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Protective Services, as well as Attorney General William Barr, and the U.S. Marshall Service. 

NPR reports that complainants describe seeing Department of Homeland Security agents “injure peaceful protesters, make arrests without probable cause and use otherwise violent tactics.” 

Portland Protests Continue Unabated Despite Federal Law Enforcement Presence
People gather in protest in front of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland as the city experiences another night of unrest on July 28, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“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.”

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on Monday saying that the protests in Portland are rife with “criminal violence.”

They allege that they are protecting the federal courthouse which it says is under attack by protesters. They said that “rioters” have targeted federal officers with “hard projectiles, mortar style fireworks, and lasers that can cause permanent blindness.”

READ MORE: Wall of veterans protect demonstrators in Portland

The nightly protests have been the subject of a number of legal maneuvers. Portland mayor, Ted Wheeler, recently wrote a letter to Congress asking them to pass legislation to block the Trump administration from deploying into cities without the consent of local leaders. 

Attorney General William Barr was questioned about the actions while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. He stated that if local leaders were protecting the courthouse, “We wouldn’t be there.” 

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