Yesterday, Josh Campbell of CNN, tweeted he was headed to Portland, Oregon, to “sort out what in the world is happening there.” As if there hasn’t been plenty of local media journalists, live-streamers, and freelancers covering what is happening in Portland every single day since protests began in the city after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
The truth is, there has been excellent coverage, and that’s why Portland is once again in the national spotlight. Unfortunately so far, most of that coverage seems to have received little attention outside of social media until footage of federal officers grabbing a protester off the street gained traction.
That footage is extremely disturbing and certainly demands national attention. We are at a point where anyone exercising their First Amendment rights can be detained by armed individuals who do not identify themselves, loaded into unmarked vehicles, and whisked away with no explanation. But the truth is, we’ve been slipping down this slope for quite some time, and what’s been happening in Portland is just another taste of what could happen anywhere in the US.
There have been several lawsuits filed by journalists against the Portland Police Bureau even before the federal officers moved in. Since the events of July 15th, there have been additional lawsuits filed against federal agencies.
Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, filed a lawsuit on July 17, 2020, against the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protection Service, alleging they have violated Oregonians’ civil rights.
Rosenblum’s statement says, “these tactics must stop. They not only make it impossible for people to assert their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully. They also create a more volatile situation on our streets. We are today asking the federal court to stop the federal police from secretly stopping and forcibly grabbing Oregonians off our streets…”
The ACLU has also filed multiple lawsuits against federal agencies for actions around the country. Acting interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, Jann Carson, says, “what is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States. Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping. The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”
There’s little doubt protests will continue, in Portland and around the country. Time will tell what comes of them, and these lawsuits, and what the lasting effects on freedom will be in this country.
**If you want good, solid, local coverage of what is happening daily in the protests in Portland, as well as good sources for updates on the various related lawsuits, I have compiled a list of journalists and freelance live-streamers on Twitter you can check out here. Many of them have links in their bios to ways you can ‘tip’ them if you want.
Image courtesy of Needpix.com