Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced late Friday that her office would sue several federal law enforcement agencies over their response to Portland protests and launch a criminal investigation into an incident of force by federal officers.
Rosenblum is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop federal officers from detaining Portlanders, arguing federal agencies seized and detained Oregonians without probable cause. She said the state’s lawsuit in federal court will name the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Protection Service as defendants.
“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,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening. If this can happen here in Portland, it can happen anywhere.”
Rosenblum also said the state and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office would criminally investigate the shooting by federal officers of Donavan La Bella in the face with a less-lethal munition Saturday, critically injuring him. La Bella’s hands were above his head when he was shot.
Earlier Friday, U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams called for an investigation into reports that federal officers had detained two protesters without probable cause. Williams had previously launched a federal investigation into the shooting of La Bella.
Rosenblum’s announcement comes after several days of criticism traded between officials in Oregon with federal officials over the continued use of force and chemical weapons by federal officers on Portlanders.
“I share the concerns of our state and local leaders – and our Oregon U.S. senators and certain congressional representatives – that the current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary and out of character with the Oregon way,” Rosenblum said. “These tactics must stop.”
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