(PoliticalLookout.com)- Portland, Oregon, protesters have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration over how they have handled the situation.
Specifically, the protesters are suing over the use of aggressive tactics and tear gas by federal agents who have been deployed to the city.
The suit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., by Project Democracy, a nonprofit group. It was filed on behalf of two groups and five women. The groups are Wall of Moms and Don’t Shoot Portland.
Wall of Moms is a group of mothers who try to stand between police and demonstrators while wearing yellow. In the lawsuit, this group said they have demonstrated peacefully, but federal agents shot rubber bullets at them, threw flash-bang grenades into a crowd, sprayed tear gas, pepper sprayed them, and assaulted them.
This all allegedly occurred while the protesters were demonstrating outside of the federal courthouse located in downtown Portland.
According to the plaintiffs, the federal agencies violated their First Amendment rights as well as rights to due process and free assembly. The federal agencies in question are Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Protective Service, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
On the other side is the Department of Justice, which has painted a different picture. The DOJ said agents were protecting the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, which has become “a nightly target of vandalism during evening protests and riots, sustaining extensive damage.”
Last week, federal agents arrested 18 people on charges all related to the demonstrations outside of the courthouse. Some of the charges included arson, willfully damaging government property, and assaulting a federal officer.
Protests around systemic racism and police brutality have raged in Portland since back in May, when George Floyd was killed at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers. While some of the protests have been peaceful, many demonstrators have remained in the area after dark. That’s when the demonstrations have turned violent, federal officials have said.
Protesters have been seen setting fires, throwing rocks at police officers, and destroying property. In response, Trump sent federal officers to keep and enforce the peace.
As clashes between the agents and protesters ramped up, though, Ellen Rosenblum, the attorney general of Oregon, tried to restrict the ability of federal agents to arrest residents of the state. That lawsuit was rejected last Friday by a federal judge in Portland.
For his part, Attorney General William Barr has defended the federal response to the protests, saying in a written opening statement that the rule of the law must be upheld as “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction.”
Barr is set to give a testimony on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.
According to Barr:
“We should all be able to agree that there is no place in this country for armed mobs that seek to establish autonomous zones beyond government control, or tear down statues and monuments that law-abiding communities chose to erect, or to destroy the property and livelihoods of innocent business owners.”