Updated: 6/30/2020 at 7 p.m. to note our clients in this case.
PORTLAND, Ore.—Today the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon and BraunHagey & Borden LLP, on behalf of their clients John Rudoff, Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Sam Gehrke, Tuck Woodstock, Doug Brown, Kat Mahoney, Sergio Olmos, and Index Newspapers LLC, asked the federal court to issue a temporary restraining order in a class-action lawsuit against the City of Portland and Portland law enforcement on behalf of journalists and legal observers who were targeted and attacked by the police while documenting protests in Portland over the killing of George Floyd.
The Portland Mercury, twelve journalists, and two ACLU of Oregon legal observers told the court that people are afraid to report on and observe protests because the police have targeted journalists and observers with rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, beatings, flash-bang grenades, detentions, arrests, and threats. The group includes Doug Brown, Sam Gehrke, Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Kat Mahoney, Nathan Millsap, Sergio Olmos, Zach Putnam, John Rudoff, Suzette Smith, Blair Stenvick, Elliot Tippie, Alex Milan Tracy, Tuck Woodstock, and Alex Zielinski.
The attorneys are asking the federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order to immediately prohibit law enforcement from:
- Using any form of physical force against a journalist or legal observer, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and flash-bang grenades;
- Arresting or threatening to arrest journalists and legal observers or seizing their equipment;
- Threatening, harassing, or intimidating a journalist or legal observer;
- Using indiscriminate force against crowds that are likely to contain journalists or legal observers;
- "Kettling" or "killboxing" crowds that are likely to include journalists or legal observers; and
- Ordering or forcing journalists or legal observers to disperse, or to stop recording or observing a protest.
The lawsuit, Woodstock v. City of Portland, was filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division. It seeks an order declaring law enforcement’s actions unconstitutional and prohibiting them from targeting and attacking journalists again. The lawsuit also seeks damages for injuries sustained.
Attorneys on the case include Matt Borden, Athul Acharya, and Gunnar Martz of BraunHagey & Borden LLP; and Kelly Simon of the ACLU Foundation of Oregon.
The complaint is here.