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Oregon attorney general files lawsuit against federal agencies amid reports that officers ‘kidnapped’ Portland protesters

Oregon attorney general files lawsuit against federal agencies amid reports that officers ‘kidnapped’ Portland protesters
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is taking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies to court, after accusing federal officers of detaining Portland demonstrators without probable cause.

Rosenblum announced on Friday night that the Oregon Department of Justice had filed a lawsuit in federal court against the DHS, US Marshals Service, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Federal Protection Service. The suit claims federal law enforcement agencies have been wrongfully seizing protesters and seeks a temporary restraining order which would prohibit them from using such tactics, local media reported. 

“The federal administration has chosen Portland to use their scare tactics to stop our residents from protesting police brutality and from supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening. If this can happen here in Portland, it can happen anywhere,” the state attorney general said. 

The lawsuit comes one day after interim DHS chief Chad Wolf met with law enforcement officials in Portland. Tweeting about his visit, Wolf vowed that his agency would “never surrender to violent extremists.” 

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Officers charged with protecting Portland’s federal courthouse have been accused of using unmarked vans to “kidnap” demonstrators off the streets and then take them in for interrogation. Some protesters claim that they were questioned and then released by federal officers without being charged with a crime. CBP acknowledged on Friday that it had carried out an arrest in which an unmarked vehicle was used to transport the suspect, but claimed that the individual in question was “suspected of assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property.”

The presence of federal officers has been condemned by several other senior Oregon officials. Governor Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheelers, and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley called for a probe into the methods deployed by federal agents operating in the city. US Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams later announced that he would investigate the matter. He acknowledged, however, that the officers have a mandate to protect federal property, and have been attacked by protesters using “commercial fireworks, laser strikes, glass, mortars” and other projectiles. 

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