Obama appointed judge rules federal officers in Portland can’t target journalists, legal observers for arrest

Michael H. Simon, a Obama appointed judge has ruled Federal officers in Portland can’t target journalists or legal observers for arrest.

Per the ruling, federal agents are prevented from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using force against them, a ruling says.

Per Wikipedia, On July 14, 2010, President Obama nominated Simon to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Oregon to fill the seat vacated by Judge Ancer L. Haggerty, who had taken senior status in August 2009. Simon’s nomination lapsed at the end of 2010, and Obama renominated him on January 5, 2011.

The Hill reports a federal judge in Oregon on Thursday night issued a temporary restraining order against the federal agents deployed in Portland, prohibiting them from threatening to arrest, arresting, dispersing or using force against journalists and legal observers who are at the protests.

The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, and the restraining order acts against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Marshals Service. Portland police were already banned from arresting or attacking journalists and legal observers at the protests.

Per the order — issued by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon — the stationed federal officers also cannot seize any photography, audio- or video-recording equipment or press passes from the journalists and legal observers. Additionally, journalists and legal observers cannot be made to stop recording or photographing a protest.

“This order is a victory for the rule of law,” Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, said in a statement.

“Federal agents from Trump’s Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are terrorizing the community, threatening lives, and relentlessly attacking journalists and legal observers documenting protests. These are the actions of a tyrant, and they have no place anywhere in America,” Carson added.

Black Lives Matter protests have filled the streets of downtown Portland since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May.

At times, the protests have led to the damage of federal property, which prompted DHS acting Security Chad Wolf to deploy federal officers to the city in late June in an attempt to safeguard the affected government buildings.

Wolf last week called demonstrators a “violent mob” and “lawless anarchists,” while President Trump has used similar descriptions when talking about protesters nationwide.

On Friday, reports emerged that non-specific camouflaged federal officers were grabbing and detaining protesters. Some reports described agents placing demonstrators in unmarked vans.

The move has sparked outrage from Democrats, Oregon local leaders, advocates and some Republicans.