During the racial justice protests of 2020, which erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis Police, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) surveilled Oregonians exercising their First Amendment rights by livestreaming footage of Portland protests online.  PPB’s livestreams depicted individual protesters engaged in lawful, peaceful demonstrations, often against the express wishes of those being recorded.  This practice of surveilling and collecting data on racial justice protesters – for, crucially, livestream footage on most technological platforms is generally retained by default even after the livestream ends – violates Oregon law.  Oregon statute (specifically ORS 181A.250) prohibits law enforcement from collecting or maintaining information on the political, religious, or social views of individuals or organizations, and from monitoring their associations or activities.  

This lawsuit argues that PPB, by filming protesters engaged in social and political expression, violated Oregon law’s prohibition on such surveillance.  

Plaintiffs are a Portland protester who was surveilled without consent, and the ACLU of Oregon, which is party to a binding legal agreement with PPB from 1988 that required PPB to comply at all times with ORS 181A.250.  

Attorneys: Kelly Simon, ACLU of Oregon; Alan Lloyd Kessler; and Edward A. Piper, Joanna T. Perini-Abbott, and Ursula M. Lalovic with Angeli Law Group. 

Date filed

August 6, 2020