Protester in Portland sues Trump for 'conspiracy to violate the U.S. Constitution' after alleged attack by feds
A Seattle resident is suing president Donald Trump and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf for "conspiracy to violate the U.S. Constitution" after allegedly being beaten by federal law enforcement officers at a Portland protest on July 18.
The lawsuit, first reported by The Oregonian, was filed in U.S. District Court on July 21.
It alleges that Jeff Paul, who works in special education, attended a protest outside the Justice Center when federal officers charged without warning and "viciously beat and mutilated" Paul with a baton. According to court documents, Paul spent the night in a hospital emergency department.
The lawsuit alleges that Wolf and the federal agents who work for him violated Paul's First and Fourth Amendment rights to peacefully protest and from unlawful uses of force. It further alleges that world and federal law enforcement conspired to deprive Paul of his civil rights and failed to prevent that conspiracy.
Trump, Wolf and federal agents also allegedly threatened to violate Paul's First and Fourth Amendment rights with their "their repeated threats to deploy violence against protestors demonstrating against racial injustice generally and in Portland specifically."
The lawsuit cites statements made by Trump on Twitter, such as, "a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them."
Paul is represented pro bono by Michael Fuller, Kelly D. Jones and Jane Moisan. The lawsuit is one of many filed by the team of Portland lawyers on behalf of protesters and homeowners who have been impacted by the law enforcement tactics used at protests.
"As a lawyer, it's disgusting to see the Constitution violated for political purposes," Fuller told the Portland Tribune.
This is the first complaint they've filed against Trump. "This is a rare case where we know that the administration did in fact conspire with other agencies to break the Constitution, and we know that because he's tweeted as much," Fuller said.
Fuller said it will be an uphill battle to sue a sitting president, but Trump has made their job a little easier. "He's just made it very clear that he is employing these federal agents, he's encouraging them to use excessive force, and he's doing it for political reasons," Fuller said.
Fuller said the primary goal of the lawsuit is to get an "order prohibiting Trump from continuing to beat and abuse peaceful protesters for political purposes," as well as an unspecified amount in monetary damages for Paul.
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