Cities and communities across the country have been damaged and destroyed as some protests have turned into riots.
Now, an Obama-appointed federal judge will allow liberal groups to sue the federal government for arresting those taking part in riots and violent demonstrations.
Federal agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are now facing a federal investigation after a series of arrests this week in Portland.
“Based on news accounts circulating that allege federal law enforcement detained two protesters without probable cause, I have requested the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to open a separate investigation directed specifically at the actions of DHS personnel,” Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said in a statement.
The announcement follows a report from Oregon Public Broadcasting that federal agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and Customs and Border Protection were detaining individuals in unmarked vehicles.
A ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon made Friday has allowed the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon to include the DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service as defendants in its lawsuit alleging police are targeting journalists and legal observers documenting Portland’s ongoing protests.
“What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States,” ACLU Oregon Interim Executive Director Jann Carson said in a statement. “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.”
Under the ruling, the ACLU could seek a temporary restraining order against both agencies similar to one placed upon the Portland Police Bureau, barring it from using physical force against journalists or legal observers unless they “reasonably know” they have committed a crime.
These developments follow the severe injury of a Portland protester amid last weekend amid the deployment of federal agents in the city. The incident drew fire from a host of Oregon leaders, including Gov. Kate Brown and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
Protesters have frequently gathered at Portland’s Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse where they have regularly clashed with federal agents.
Protests against police brutality have been held continually in Portland since the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police in May and the nationwide protests that followed.
The protests and riots began in Minnesota after video emerged of a now-former Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, leading to his apparent death.
Last week, three NYPD officers were violently attacked by “protesters” and left with serious injuries during a “Defund the Police” rally.
Chicago, a city run by Democrats that has been violent and dangerous for many years, is also struggling with containing violence during protests.
Just this last weekend alone, a reported 70 people were shot in the city, with 10 dying from their fatal wounds.
Chicago police even released a video that appears to show a peaceful protest being “hijacked by organized mobs.”