PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman who was “permanently injured” during an August 2018 protest in Portland filed a $250,000 lawsuit through the ACLU against the Portland police.
Michelle Fawcett was injured when she was “shot in the chest with a flash bang grenade on August 4, 2018,” she said at a Monday morning press conference.
She said was motivated to protest in the months after Jeremy Christian allegedly attacked and killed 2 people on a MAX train in what appeared to be a hate crime.
When a right-wing protest was announced for that day in August 2018, she decide to take part in the counter-protest.
“Even though I was afraid of Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys,” Fawcett said. “…I felt it was my duty to stand against violence, bigotry and hatred.”
That day as the protest escalated into violence, Fawcett said she was shot in the chest by the flash bang grenade.
She suffered 3rd-degree chemical burns, major impact wounds and major soft tissue damage, said ACLU interim executive director Jan Carson. Fawcett is permanently injured, has missed work, is dealing with pain and suffering and is depressed.
“She no longer feels safe to exercise her 1st Amendment right,” Carson said.
In prepared remarks Fawcett said it is “hard for me to put myself in the spotlight like this.” But she decided she had to because protesters “must be able to gather together to reject racism, reject violence and reject rising tide of white nationalism and authoritarianism in our country and right here.”
Both she and Carson expressed concern about the planned protest on August 17 that may become violent.
“The upcoming anti-antifa protest on August 17 will be another test for the Portland Police Bureau as white nationalists again converge on our city,” Carson said. “We will not attempt to downplay the challenges we currently face as a city as a state as a nation.”
Fawcett said she is “very concerned” about what will happen in the city that day.
Carson said Portland police should use tactics to deescalate tensions and any response “needs to be proportional.”
This is one of 8 lawsuits filed on behalf of protesters, Carson said, and the legal office of Tonkon Torp is providing their services pro bono.