Judge Rejects Challenge to Federal Agents Targeting Portland Protesters: State Does Not Have “Standing”

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PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Portland on Friday rejected Oregon’s legal bid to restrict the operations of federal agents who have been battling protesters nightly in the city.

The lawsuit by Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, argued that the operations of federal authorities, who were using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters, resembled abductions. It called on the court to order the agents to stop arresting individuals without probable cause and to clearly identify themselves and their agency before detaining or arresting “any person off the streets in Oregon.”

In his ruling, Judge Michael W. Mosman of the U.S. District Court in Portland said the attorney general’s office did not have standing to bring the case because it had not shown that the issue was “an interest that is specific to the state itself.”

“I find the State of Oregon lacks standing here and therefore deny its request for a temporary restraining order,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

“I am quite disappointed,” Ms. Rosenblum said in an interview. “If I don’t have standing, I’m not quite sure who does.”

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The Lead Federal Agency Responding to Protesters in Portland Employs Thousands of Private Contractors

The role that these private contractors are playing in current crowd-control efforts in Portland, and the role they will play going forward if Trump does expand the federal intervention to other cities across the nation, is best described as opaque — seemingly on purpose. The danger, however, is that Trump and his attorney general, William Barr, will expand this private contractor force in extending the reach of the federal response to recent civil rights protests — creating what is essentially a national paramilitary police force.

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