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US ACLU Sues DHS Over Federal Agents' Response to Portland Protests

04:15  18 july  2020
04:15  18 july  2020 Source:   newsweek.com

DHS leaders, filling jobs on temporary basis, carry out Trump agenda

  DHS leaders, filling jobs on temporary basis, carry out Trump agenda The Department of Homeland Security, at the center of some of the administration's most controversial and political actions from immigration restrictions to an aggressive response to protests in Portland, Oregon, is mostly run by temporary officials, skirting the scrutiny that comes from putting leadership through confirmation. © Nathan Howard/Reuters Federal law enforcement officers, deployed under the Trump administration's new executive order to protect federal monuments and buildings, face off with protesters against racial inequality in Portland, Oregon, U.S. July 17, 2020.

Federal forces have hospitalised and 'kidnapped' protesters , whom DHS head Chad Wolf called 'violent Journalists and demonstrators have been apprehended by police and federal agents outfitted in During a visit to Portland earlier on Thursday, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf

Federal agents with DHS fired tear gas and less lethal munition at Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland , Oregon. As much as 250 residents marched to Pioneer Courthouse Square, before ending up in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center. Federal agents are reportedly using unmarked

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Friday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over allegedly violent behavior from federal law enforcement agents at protests in Portland, Oregon.

a group of people in uniform: U.S. Marshals restrain a protester near the White House in Washington, D.C. on June 1, 2020. © ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty U.S. Marshals restrain a protester near the White House in Washington, D.C. on June 1, 2020.

The group says the lawsuit was filed on behalf of local journalists and legal observers. It seeks to prevent agents "from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers" during protests against racial injustice sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd.

Federal agents in unmarked cars, 'wall of moms': Here's what's happening in Portland

  Federal agents in unmarked cars, 'wall of moms': Here's what's happening in Portland Weeks of protest and the presence of federal agents in Portland have brought the national spotlight on the Oregon city amid calls for racial justice.The city has seen nightly protests for nearly two months following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd was a Black man who died as a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck, and his death sparked a national movement and protests to address systemic racism.

The acting head of the Department of Homeland Security has praised federal officers who face off Portland protesters . Tensions in the city are high, as netizens repost images of unmarked agents , comparing them to the Gestapo. “Our men and women in uniform are patriots.

READ MORE | Homeland Security head in Portland after saying city 'under siege'. Senator Jeff Merkley also issued a response to the recent presence of federal officers in Portland . However, the actions by out-of-state federal agents last weekend failed to display good decision-making and sound

"This is a fight to save our democracy," Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, said in a statement. "Under the direction of the Trump administration, federal agents are terrorizing the community, risking lives, and brutally attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality."

"This is police escalation on top of police escalation. These federal agents must be stopped and removed from our city," added Simon. "We will continue to bring the full fire power of the ACLU to bear until this lawless policing ends."

The legal complaint seeks a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the agencies, who it alleges have been "assaulting news reporters, photographers, legal observers, and other neutrals who are documenting Defendants' violent response to protests over the murder of George Floyd."

Navy veteran beaten and pepper-sprayed by federal agents at protest in Portland

  Navy veteran beaten and pepper-sprayed by federal agents at protest in Portland In a video, federal agents are seen beating Navy vet Christopher David with a baton and then pepper-spraying his face during protests in Portland.Although protests in Portland have been going on for weeks, Christopher David, 53, told the Associated Press he decided to join the protest for the first time Saturday night because he was disturbed by reports of federal officers in unmarked cars arresting people without explanation.

Federal authorities said they would bring order to Portland , Ore., after weeks of protests there. Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland , who is also police commissioner, said the federal response was “irresponsible” and asked for those deployed to stay inside federal buildings or leave the city.

The American Civil Liberties Union deemed these actions "flat-out unconstitutional." The mayor of Portland said neither he nor the city want the help of these federal agents , whom he said are using "life-threatening tactics." As Black Lives Matter protests in Portland , Oregon carry into a second

Portland police have been under a similar restraining order after being accused of violent conduct, which the ACLU says led to a temporary "respite from the violence and intimidation that gave rise to" their current legal action. However, President Donald Trump soon sent federal agents to the city, which the group claims led to further violence.

The ACLU cites a number of reported incidents involving the "indiscriminate" use of rubber bullets, tear gas and acoustic weapons at demonstrations, including a July 12 incident involving a protester who suffered serious head injuries after allegedly being shot in the head by a police officer.

Newsweek reached out to DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service for comment.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

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Photos: Civil unrest in Portland after George Floyd's death .
Officials have filed civil lawsuits against the treatment of protesters and journalists by federal agents. Around the country and oversees, public demonstrations have been focused on ending police brutality and systemic racism, as well as the removal of controversial historic statues.

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