United States District Judge Michael Simon slapped the federal government with a temporary restraining order (TRO) today banning federal officers from using force or threats against journalists and legal observers by exempting them from dispersal orders. This order is virtually identical to the one Judge Simon issued against the Portland Police earlier this month (https://copblaster.com/blast/25822/judge-michael-simon-just-made-portland-a-lot-safer). That TRO successfully deterred the Portland Police from targeting journalists and legal observers for the most part, but the feds responded by targeting journalists and legal observers themselves. They also started using tear gas and “less lethal” munitions indiscriminately again crowds full of peaceful demonstrators.
The TRO is in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the above mentioned tactics. They used examples including the beating of former Navy Lieutenant Chris David (https://copblaster.com/blast/25856/chris-david-tough-as-nails-navy-vet-assaulted-by-feds-in-portland) and the shooting of Donavan LaBella. Simon cited these examples in support of his order. David had been beaten with a baton just for standing in front of the federal courthouse while trying to speak with federal officers about their oath. LaBella was sent to a hospital with skull fractures and needed surgery just because he was holding a speaker box above his head across the street from the federal courthouse (see video below). To read about more examples see the source link above this article.
Andrew Warden argued against the TRO on behalf of the Department of Justice. Warden took the position that the TRO would make it too difficult for federal officers to do their jobs. According to Warden, journalists and legal observers have “no special rights of access above and beyond the public.” That was the case before the TRO, but now because Judge Simon recognizes the importance of freedom of the press in a free society, federal officers must recognize that journalists and legal observers do in fact have rights of access above and beyond the general public. Warden also blew off questions about the training of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrols tactical unit (BORTAC) saying he was not aware of what specialized training they have and that they are typically deployed to ports of entry along the southern border. An internal DHS memo leaked last week showed that BORTAC agents lack crowd control training (https://copblaster.com/blast/25854/memo-shows-officers-deployed-to-portland-lack-crowd-control-training).
UPDATE: You can read the TRO by clicking on the PDF icon button above this article.
IMPORTANT: According the Maxine Bernstein from The Oregonian (https://twitter.com/maxoregonian/status/1286463865790709760):
“Any ‘willful violation’ of judge’s order or any direction by a federal supervisor or commander to disregard or violate the order will not shield a federal law enforcement officer from liability through the legal doctrine of qualified immunity” – Maxine Bernstein
Officers that violate the TRO can be sued in their individual capacities under Bivens (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bivens_v._Six_Unknown_Named_Agents)
Published at Thu, 23 Jul 2020 17:43:50 +0000