The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court on Tuesday, June 30, to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent police from intimidating journalist and legal observers covering the ongoing anti-racism protests in Portland.
The ACLU Foundation of Oregon and the law firm BraunHagey & Borden filed a class-action lawsuit against the city of Portland and Portland law enforcement on behalf of a number of journalists and legal observers on Sunday, June 28. The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon accused police of targeting and attacking the reporters and legal observers.
"The Portland Mercury, 12 journalists, and two ACLU of Oregon legal observers told the court that people are afraid to report on and observe protests because the police have targeted journalists and observers with rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, beatings, flash-bang grenades, detentions, arrests, and threats," the ACLU said in a June 30 press release announcing the request for the temporary restraining order.
Attorneys are asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order to immediately prohibit law enforcement from:
• Using any form of physical force against a journalist or legal observer, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and flash-bang grenades.
• Arresting or threatening to arrest journalists and legal observers or seizing their equipment.
• Threatening, harassing or intimidating a journalist or legal observer.
• Using indiscriminate force against crowds that are likely to contain journalists or legal observers.
• "Kettling" or "killboxing" crowds that are likely to include journalists or legal observers.
• Ordering or forcing journalists or legal observers to disperse, or to stop recording or observing a protest.
The lawsuit also seeks damages for injuries sustained by reporters.
The reporters and observers include Doug Brown, Sam Gehrke, Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Kat Mahoney, Nathan Millsap, Sergio Olmos, Zach Putman, John Rudoff, Suzette Smith, Blair Stenvick, Elliot Tippie, Alex Milan Tracy, Tuck Woodstock, and Alex Zielinkski.
Although an incident involving Portland Tribune reporter Zane Sparling is cited in the suit, he and the paper are not a party to it. Olmos and Stenvick have both written for the Tribune in the past.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell say they take the accusations seriously and are investigating them.
Readers can find the request for the restraining order here.
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