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A federal officer tells the crowd to move while dispersing a protest in front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 21, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

ACLU Sues Trump Administration Over 'Unconscionable' Attacks on Portland Medics

"This lawlessness must end."

Jake Johnson

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon on Wednesday sued the Trump administration for assaulting, tear-gassing, and arresting volunteer medics in Portland during its crackdown on the city's ongoing protests against police brutality.

The lawsuit (pdf), which also names the city of Portland, was filed on behalf of Savannah Guest, Christopher Wise, Christopher Durkee, and Michael Martinez, four volunteer medics who say they were assaulted by the Trump administration's federal agents and Portland police during Black Lives Matter demonstrations this month.

"It was terrifying," said Guest, who on July 12 was thrown to the ground by federal agents dressed in combat fatigues as she attempted to assist an incapacitated bystander. "Every human being deserves help, but the federal agents showed no humanity or concern."

Guest's assault was captured on video:

Martinez, a graduate student at Oregon Health and Science University who was arrested in Portland on June 13 while packing up a medical tent, said he agreed to join the legal action "because many people in this country, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, will never have their day in court."

"I feel it's all the more important to use whatever resources and power I have to confront this abhorrent system, which allows people in America, primarily Black people, to be beaten and killed by police without consequence," said Martinez.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon as massive protests continued in Portland, seeks a court order barring federal agents and city police from targeting and attacking medics in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments.

Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, said in a statement that "volunteer medics should be celebrated, not attacked or arrested."

"Our clients are volunteering day and night to provide aid to the injured and to create a safer environment for protesters and bystanders. These attacks are unconscionable as well as unconstitutional. This lawlessness must end."


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