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A federal judge denied a request by Oregon’s attorney general for a temporary restraining order against federal officers in a victory for President Trump.
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled Friday that the state lacked standing and had not shown any evidence to back claims of widespread arrests by federal officers in the lawsuit brought last week. The decision comes as Trump announced Thursday that federal agents would be dispatched to a number of U.S. cities to quell violence and just as Antifa groups are planning a day of action “against the Federal invasion.”
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum alleged that federal officers have been “secretly” detaining or arresting people in the city of Portland without probable cause in the lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Protection Service.
The complaint stated that federal officers “have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland, detain protesters, and place them into the officers’ unmarked vehicles, removing them from public without either arresting them or stating the basis for an arrest, since at least Tuesday, July 14.”
Rosenblum’s lawsuit also alleged that the officers had no identifying information and have detained protesters “without warning or explanation,” and declared that citizens have a right to walk the streets of downtown Portland without being accosted.
“Ordinarily, a person exercising his right to walk through the streets of Portland who is confronted by anonymous men in military-type fatigues and ordered into an unmarked van can reasonably assume that he is being kidnapped and is the victim of a crime,” the complaint read.
“We are today asking the federal court to stop the federal police from secretly stopping and forcibly grabbing Oregonians off our streets,” Rosenblum wrote in a statement last week.
But the judge shot down the request, ruling, in part, that “no protester is a plaintiff here” and that Oregon would have to have made a “very particularized showing” to prove its standing to even bring such a case.
“Because it has failed to do so — most fundamentally, because it has not shown it is vindicating an interest that is specific to the state itself — I find the State of Oregon lacks standing here and therefore deny its request for a temporary restraining order,” Mosman wrote.
“There is a well-established body of law paving the way for such lawsuits to move forward in federal court,” he wrote. “This is not such a lawsuit.”
The judge noted that despite claims that seemed to portray federal officers seizing unsuspecting residents, the state’s “evidence in its brief and at the hearing consists of just two examples.”
An attorney for Oregon had argued at a hearing this week that actions by the federal agents could lead to counter-protesters pretending to be officers and essentially kidnap people.
“It requires me to assume that such nefarious characters are willing to dress up like federal agents and willing to commit the very serious crime of kidnapping, but that they would blanch at the thought of identifying themselves as police,” Mosman responded in his ruling.
Rosenblum was not happy with the decision.
“While I respect Judge Mosman,” she said in a statement Friday, “I would ask this question: If the state of Oregon does not have standing to prevent this unconstitutional conduct by unidentified federal agents running roughshod over her citizens, who does? Individuals mistreated by these federal agents can sue for damages, but they can’t get a judge to restrain this unlawful conduct more generally. Today’s ruling suggests that there may be no recourse on behalf of our state, and if so that is extremely troubling.”
Meanwhile, as Portland’s leaders whine about federal help to keep its residents safe, several groups appear to be gearing up for a day of retaliation against the federal government efforts to quell violence and do the job Portland’s Democratic leaders appear to be shirking. The Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front apparently organized the event, dubbed J25 as it is planned for Saturday, July 25.
Stand in solidarity with #Portland on #J25.
-Form an affinity group.
-Coordinate am action.
-Challenge the police state.
-Don’t back down.#ACAB #PortlandProtest #PortlandMoms #BlackLivesMatter. pic.twitter.com/ub7EqoYiPF
— PNW Youth Liberation Front (@PNWYLF) July 20, 2020
“Youth abolitionists are calling for a national and global march against the institution of policing,” the event page on Facebook reads, claiming it is the Trump administration that has “waged war against Portland” and “we must become more powerful than them.”
“The time for discussing reform is over, we need full abolition for our communities to be safe and free from rampant police terror,” the page continued. “We are calling on all abolitionists, youth or non youth, to coordinate mass protests on July 25th to show the world that the fire of this uprising is still burning strong, and that flames will just keep getting bigger until the police state has been dismantled once and for all.”
From Portland to the Worldhttps://t.co/gXMouVIJUO
A call from @PopMobPDX, @pdxrisingtide,
the Revolutionary Abolitionist Group, Colectivo X, and @Symbiosis_PDX for countrywide solidarity against the federal occupation of Portland.#Portlandprotests#FedsGoHome#PDXProtest pic.twitter.com/JC4znnacxn
— CrimethInc. (@crimethinc) July 22, 2020
The call to action was for many other cities across the nation as well, including in Washington, D.C. Las Vegas, Nevada and Richmond, Virginia in addition to other Oregon cities.
CALLING ALL UNION MEMBERS!
Salmon Street Springs Fountain
Walk to the JC at 10pm together!
Form a “solidarity wall” between BLM demonstrators and the police + fed goons. #AbolishThePPA https://t.co/fHRoD6Yy3Z pic.twitter.com/92aWCKxHca
— PopMob (Popular Mobilization) (@PopMobPDX) July 24, 2020
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