On Friday, a federal judge denied a request from Oregon’s attorney general to stop federal agents arresting people in Portland. This comes as daily protests and riots over racism and alleged police brutality approach the two month mark.
Judge denies request to stop US agents from making arrests in Portland. Bring law and order back to America's cities. Enough!
— Frank Mitchell (@rfmitch) July 25, 2020
Oregon’s Attorney General did not have Standing
The request was denied for procedural reasons. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, a George W. Bush appointee, found that state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) was not in a position to sue the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the demonstrators’ behalf.
According to Mosman, Rosenblum failed to prove Oregon had an interest that was different from those of private citizens. He also pointed out that the state relied on “purely hypothetical” arguments about the risks Oregonians face. Furthermore, he struck down the argument over the “chilling effect” on the rights to free speech of Oregon residents that Rosenblum brought up. Mosman was of the opinion that it was not a state-specific issue.
“Oregonians, like all Americans, have individual rights to freedom of speech and assembly, conferred by the First Amendment. They can, and often do, bring individual lawsuits to vindicate those rights. And the State of Oregon has not explained why this case is different, why the chilled speech it alleges here injures the state in a way that is distinct from the individual harms that it also alleges,” Mosman stated in the decision.
Because anyone with a brain can see the city is out of control, if @tedwheeler and @KateBrownForOR can’t get it under control the true keepers of the law (cops, federal agents, and judges) like the Honorable Michael W. Mosman, will! https://t.co/OVEKBSsWEn
— Scott Bowerman (@ScottBowerman) July 24, 2020
Other Lawsuits against Federal Agents
Mosman’s ruling came out after another federal judge issued a restraining order prohibiting federal officers from arresting or using force against legal observers and journalists at the demonstrations.
Since the federal agents have started their expansive operation to pacify the Portland demonstrations that often turn violent, Oregon’s attorney general brought multiple lawsuits against the government. Those suits are based on videos showing federal officers in military-style uniforms arresting people and taking them away in unmarked cars.
“I share the concerns of our state and local leaders – and our Oregon U.S. Senators and certain Congressional representatives – that the current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary and out of character with the Oregon way. These tactics must stop,” Rosenblum said in a statement announcing her lawsuit last week.