Judge blocks feds in Portland from targeting press, observers

2020 Protests

Journalists and legal observers 'shall not be required to disperse following the issuance of an order to disperse'

FILE – In this July 20, 2020 file photo Federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore. When armed protesters took over a remote wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon four years ago to oppose federal control of public lands, U.S. agents negotiated with the conservative occupiers for weeks while some state leaders begged for stronger action. This month, federal officers sent to Portland to quell chaotic protests against racial injustice took swift and, some say, harsh action: launching tear gas, firing less-lethal ammunition and helping arrest more than 40 people in the first two weeks. (AP Photo/Noah Berger,File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A federal judge on Thursday granted a temporary restraining order blocking federal agents in Portland from targeting or arresting journalists and legal observers.

The order, issued in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon, adds the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service to a restraining order already in place against Portland police.

Under the order, federal agents are barred from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or targeting force against “any person whom they know or reasonably should know is a Journalists or Legal Observer” at protests “unless the Federal Defendants have probable cause to believe that such individuals have committed a crime.” The order permits journalists and legal observers to stay in an area even after officers have ordered protesters to disperse.

Agents also are prevented from seizing any photo or recording equipment, or press passes. They also can’t order journalists and legal observers to stop recording or watching a protest.

The restraining order lasts for 14 days.

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