February 22, 2017 — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) filed a ‘friend-of-the-court’ brief today in support of the media’s right to be free from compelled testimony. The civil liberties group’s court filing outlined robust support for reporter John Sepulvado and Oregon Public Broadcasting in their attempt to quash a government subpoena to compel Sepulvado to testify as a witness in the government’s trial against the remaining Malheur Refuge occupiers, U.S. v. Patrick.
Charlie Hinkle, retired partner at Stoel Rives LLP and ACLU of Oregon cooperating attorney, had this comment:
“In a time when the news media are coming under increasing attack, it is more important than ever that the courts protect the independence of the media. Requiring journalists to function as an arm of the government in prosecuting crime threatens the independence of the media and inhibits their ability to gather the news.”
Mat dos Santos, ACLU of Oregon legal director, had this comment:
“When reporters are called into the courtroom against their will, it is a threat to the First Amendment. The freedom of the press plays a critical role in holding government and public institutions accountable, and in the free flow of information and ideas.”
Portland’s crowd control policy leads to escalations of conflict
February 15, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) sent a letter to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) urging them to revise their policy related to crowd management and crowd control (Directive 635.10) in order to improve police interactions with peaceful protests. The group says PPB’s current policy has serious flaws and that additional clashes between protesters and police appear inevitable if the policy remains unchanged.
“Portland’s protest policy should emphasize restraint, de-escalation, and the use of force only as a last resort to ensure public health, safety, and welfare,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon.
The ACLU of Oregon is concerned that the current policy conflates threats to public safety with constitutionally protected activity that may be perceived as disruptive or disorderly. Furthermore, the group urged new thinking around the use of riot gear and crowd control weapons and tactics.
“Current social science shows that the use of militarized police or police dressed in “hard gear” leads to escalation of conflict, not de-escalation,” said Katherine McDowell, vice president for legal affairs at the ACLU of Oregon. “Many of the Portland Police Bureau’s crowd control weapons and tactics pose significant and irreparable health consequences and should be employed only in very limited circumstances.”
David Rogers, ACLU of Oregon’s executive director, said:
“Governor Brown’s executive order is a meaningful action that reaffirms our state agencies and employees will uphold Oregon’s values of nondiscrimination and inclusiveness. These shared values are an integral part of making Oregon a vibrant and flourishing state that strives to treat all people with respect and dignity.
FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated Campaign with 50 ACLU Affiliates
February 2, 2017 — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office (CBP) to reveal how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s immigration ban, and whether they are complying with orders from federal courts partially staying the ban’s implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed FOIA requests with 18 CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning 55 international airports across the country.
“The exclusion of Muslims and refugees is shameful and runs counter to core American values,” said Kelly Simon, staff attorney at the ACLU of Oregon. “Yesterday, we sued the Trump administration on behalf of immigrants and refugees in Oregon. Today, we teamed up with ACLU affiliates across the country in an effort to force out information about how these orders are being carried out.”
February 1, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) and Immigrant Law Group PC filed a lawsuit today in federal district court challenging President Trump’s Muslim and refugee exclusion order. The complaint was filed on behalf of Unite Oregon, a social justice organization whose members include Muslim immigrants and refugees.
“Today, we tell the world that Oregonians reject Trump’s inhumane orders that exclude Muslims and refugees,” said an emotional Manijeh Merhnoosh, Unite Oregon’s board co-chair.