U.S. Marshals Assault Journalists with CS Gas at Federal Courthouse

Blast Zone No. 25824 - 1 Comment
Set Up On:
Category: Police - Federal
Current Courthouse Address:
1000 SW Third Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97204

United States Marshals attacked journalists filming protests outside of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon early this morning just a few hours after United States District Judge Michael Simon issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) banning the Portland Police Bureau from targeting journalists by ordering them exempt from dispersal orders. Simon's order came the day after Portland Police assaulted and arrested three journalists that were just filming a protest. The effect of Simon's order was felt right away as everyone from the mainstream news to freelance streamers were left alone by the Portland Police even when they declared a riot and moved in to break up the demonstration outside the federal courthouse.

The front glass door of the courthouse was actually destroyed by the Marshals after protesters tried to jam a big piece of wood between the handles that would have locked the Marshals inside of courthouse (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmRWZpP9cz8). The effort to lock them in came after the Marshals were shooting pepper balls out the door at people including media that were at a range of distances from the door between 10 or more feet to all the way across the street. When Portland Police declared a riot and moved in most of journalists left the area, but a few went back to the courthouse and began filming the Marshals from outside. Those journalists included Sol Luna, a volunteer streamer from Portland that has built a large following on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100040473049047). Luna setup his camera on courthouse property to the well off to the side of the door between the pillars. Everything seemed to be going fine with nothing notable happening as Marshals stood in the doorway with riot shields.

Then with no warning whatsoever a group of Marshals came outside and began throwing CS gas grenades at the journalists that were filming them. At one point one of the Marshals kicked a grenade with the clear intention of hitting Sol and he got him (see video below). Then Sol took a few minutes to recover from the CS gas, which is far stronger than tear gas, and by the time he moves his camera again he is all alone.

A lot of people were quick to accuse the Portland Police of violating Judge Simon's order while others blamed the National Guard due to the Marshals wearing military fatigues, but only a few seemed to know that all of them were Marshals. No Portland Police, no National Guard, just Marshals. Judge Simon issued his TRO (see TRO at https://copblaster.com/uploads/files/portland-police-restraining-order.pdf) as part of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the City of Portland, Portland Police Bureau, and dozens of officers listed as John Doe's (see lawsuit at https://copblaster.com/uploads/files/aclu-oregon-v-portland-police.pdf). The TRO begins in part by saying "Defendants and their agents and employees, including but not limited to the Portland Police Bureau and all persons acting under the direction of the Portland Police Bureau." The United States is not one of the defendants and the Marshals do not operate under the direction of the Portland Police Bureau, so there is no order exempting journalists from being targeted by the Marshals. To seek an order against the Marshals, the ACLU would need to file a separate lawsuit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

During this part of the protest we did not see any fireworks being shot at the door let alone a fire inside the federal courthouse like the Portland Police claimed there was in their press release.

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