PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit Friday against federal law enforcement agencies over the tactics they have used at protests while deployed in Portland, which includes allegedly seizing and detaining protesters without probable cause. On Sunday, she spoke with KOIN 6 News about the demands of the lawsuit and how she believes federal officers are escalating the violence.
“I think every American needs to be concerned about what’s happening here in Portland. These federal agencies are operating with no transparency and against the will of just about every leader in our state,” Rosenblum said. “We took a look at this because things seemed, by Friday morning, not to be improving.”
“We are asking that there be a declaration that their conduct, that their tactics are in violation of the First Amendment: people’s rights to protest, people’s rights to be on the streets, to be declaring their opposition to police brutality, to racial injustices,” said Rosenblum. “And so, that is what is known as a prior restraint on a person’s right to conduct themselves publicly in this manner under the First Amendment.”
Rosenblum referenced unreasonable seizures in instances where people were allegedly grabbed off the street and put in unmarked rental cars—a story first published by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
“These are not people who are being found to be engaging in illegal conduct at the time that they are grabbed. In fact, one young man was just simply walking home after the protest—Mr. Pettibone, whose affidavit is included in our complaint that we filed,” said Rosenblum.
She said the lawsuit specifically asks for a ruling from the court that permanently restrains federal officers from engaging in these tactics and requires them to do three things:
“Not to arrest individuals without probable cause or a warrant; identifying themselves and their agency before detaining or arresting anyone; explaining to any person detained or arrested that the person is being detained or arrested and the basis for the action,” Rosenblum said.
“This is a very straight-forward lawsuit,” she said.
It was filed Friday night, and her office also plans to file a motion for a temporary restraining order in the coming days.
“We believe strongly that the deployment of federal law enforcement in Portland has nothing to do with public safety and in fact, is actually escalating the dangerous situation here in our town and we wanted to do something to try to help,” said Rosenblum.