Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Border Patrol Accused of 'Unfathomable Cruelty' for Cracking Whips on Haitians

"It doesn't matter if a Democrat or Republican is president, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Brett Wilkins ·


As Gov. Tim Walz Proclaims 'Minnesota Climate Week,' Ilhan Omar Says 'Stop Line 3'

"The state of Minnesota simply cannot meet our carbon reduction targets if this pipeline goes through," said the Democratic congresswoman. "Our future is on the line."

Kenny Stancil ·


Supreme Court Announces Date for Case Directly Challenging Roe v. Wade

"The fate of Roe v. Wade and legal abortion is on the line."

Julia Conley ·


Avi Lewis Hoping Canadians' Climate Concerns Deliver Electoral 'Upset of Epic Proportions'

"We need to send Avi to Ottawa to shake up the entire political establishment, including his own party, and tip the scales in favor of people and the planet," said environmentalist David Suzuki.

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Denounces a Pentagon Budget System Found 'Inherently Susceptible to Fraud'

"They don't seem to want to get serious about spending taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively," said the Vermont senator, declaring it "absolutely unacceptable."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo