The Oregon Department of Justice plans to sue several federal agencies for civil rights abuses, and state prosecutors will potentially pursue criminal charges against a federal officer who seriously injured a protester.I blogged that incident in a previous episode of Oregon, My Oregon
The federal lawsuit will name the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Protective Service, three agencies that have had a role in stepped-up force used against protesters since early July. The state plans to file the lawsuit Friday night.
According to DOJ spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson, the suit will accuse the agencies of engaging "in unlawful law enforcement in violation of the civil rights of Oregon citizens by seizing and detaining them without probable cause."
State attorneys will ask a judge to issue a temporary restraining order that "would immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians," the DOJ said in a release.
The agency also plans to announce a criminal investigation in the case of Donavan LaBella, a peaceful demonstrator who was shot in the head with an impact munition last Saturday night, Edmunson said.
Those munitions are intended to be aimed below the waist. LaBella's mom said she believes the officer aimed at LaBella's head."He's 6'5"," said Desiree Labella, referring to her son. "He has to be a terribly trained marksman to be off by 3 feet to hit him in the forehead right between the eyes. If he's that bad of a shot at such a short distance he shouldn't have a gun."It could also have bounced off the pavement and hit him in the head, too. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
The pending lawsuit, which would be the second filed against federal authorities on Friday, comes after reporting by OPB that revealed federal agents have detained peaceful protesters using unmarked vehicles, with little explanation or indication of which agency they belong to or why people are being taken into custody.And questioned about damaging federal property and then released. You know, if you really don't want Federal law enforcement on the streets of Portland, you might actually try enforcing the laws against destruction and defacement of federal property.
The DOJ release specifically highlighted the case of Mark Pettibone, a demonstrator who was snatched off the street by federal officers in the early hours of July 16, put into a van, and brought to the federal courthouse.
NYT, Were the Actions of Federal Agents in Portland Legal?
But officials in Washington said they had clear authority. Customs and Border Protection, which sent tactical border agents to Portland, cited 40 U.S. Code 1315, which under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 gives the department’s secretary the power to deputize other federal agents to assist the Federal Protective Service in protecting federal property, such as the courthouse in Portland.Finally, via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 07.17.20, American Thinker Judith Acosta asks Can A Whole Country Go Mad? Apparently.
Those agents can carry firearms, arrest those accused of committing a crime without a warrant and conduct investigations “on and off the property in question.”
“An interpretation of that authority so broadly seems to undermine all the other careful checks and balances on D.H.S.’s power because the officers’ power is effectively limitless and all encompassing,” said Garrett Graff, a historian who studies the Department of Homeland Security’s history and development.
The department has justified the tactics of the federal agents in Portland by pointing to dozens of episodes, including the defacement of federal property with graffiti, the damaging of buildings with fireworks and the throwing of rocks and bottles at officers.
Detaining demonstrators away from federal properties has also raised questions. Former officials at the Department of Homeland Security said it would normally only dispatch agents to assist with local incidents if the state or municipal governments asked for help and deputized that responsibility. In Portland, local leaders have done the opposite.
But the lack of any consent from local officials just means federal agents cannot rely on state and local laws to justify the arrests. Federal agents can still detain the demonstrators away from federal property if they can assert probable cause that a federal crime was violated, according to Peter Vincent, a former top lawyer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has also sent agents to cities across the United States.
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