PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A second lawsuit was filed against the federal government over the Trump Administration’s deployment of federal officers to the streets of Portland, calling it at the very least a violation of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Oregon State Representatives Karin Power and Janelle Bynum, the Western States Center, the First Unitarian Church of Portland and ACLU observer and attorney Sara Eddie, wants a permanent restraining order against all the defendants.
Those defendants are the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Protective Service and the US Marshals Service.
Read the entire lawsuit at the bottom of this article
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to stop the federal government, its officials, and any others who have acted in concert with them, from depriving Portlanders of the right to be policed solely by those the Constitution permits, and who are accountable to Portlanders and Oregonians,” it states.
The requested restraining order would prevent federal officers from doing any law enforcement activities other than “the immediate defense of federal personnel or property,” and prevent people from being seized or arrested without probable cause or a warrant.
In the lawsuit, the Western States Center said they had made progress de-escalating the tensions between Portland police and the protesters after they began in the days following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“There doesn’t seem to be transparency or accountability around this force,” said Eric Ward, the executive director of the Western States Center. “It has impeded our ability to engage in de-escalation on the streets of Portland.”
But since the arrival in Portland of the federal officers, the organization said they’ve had to use significant resources to undo the harm the federal agents have caused.
The First Unitarian Church said the federal officers’ presence in Portland is making it difficult for its members to freely worship by making it an unsafe area, therby denying 1st Amendment rights.
Reps. Power and Bynum claim the presence of the federal troops makes it difficult for them to legislate law enforcement policies in Oregon. And Eddie said she won’t be a protest observer anymore unless the federal police presence is restricted.
In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters he would pull Homeland Security agents out of the city’s downtown area immediately “if the violence stops.”
Federal authorities at DHS also revealed officers had made 7 arrests from Monday’s demonstrations and a total of 43 since they’ve been in Portland.
Tuesday morning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “The Portland mob has become increasingly aggressive and we will not allow Portland to become the new CHOP like we saw in Seattle.”
Oregon Attorney General’s lawsuit
This federal lawsuit comes days after Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued the federal government over the same issues.
Rosenblum announced the state Department of Justice will file a federal lawsuit against federal agencies for allegedly seizing and detaining protesters in Portland without probable cause.
The complaint says that unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland’s streets “without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action.”
Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to “immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians.”
Oregon elected leaders
Four of Oregon’s federal representatives want investigations into the “unrequested presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland.” Additionally, the US Attorney for Oregon also wants an investigation into the actions of Homeland Security personnel.
Oregon’s US senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with US Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici now want the US Department of Justice and the Inspector General’s office to investigate the federal agents presence in Portland.
They earlier sent a letter to Wolf and Attorney General William Barr condemning the escalation of violent tactics against protesters.
And in a statement, US Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams said, “Based on news accounts circulating that allege federal law enforcement detained two protestors without probable cause, I have requested the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to open a separate investigation directed specifically at the actions of DHS personnel.”
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