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ACLU sues Trump administration over federal agents at Portland protests

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf testifies on the use of federal agents during protests in Portland on Aug. 6. On Wednesday, the ACLU sued the Trump administration over the actions of federal agents. Pool Photo by Alex Wong/UPI
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf testifies on the use of federal agents during protests in Portland on Aug. 6. On Wednesday, the ACLU sued the Trump administration over the actions of federal agents. Pool Photo by Alex Wong/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration stating that federal agents violated the rights of protesters in Portland, Ore.

The lawsuit was filed by ACLU Oregon on behalf of protesters who were allegedly beaten, tear-gassed, shot, abducted and sprayed with chemical agents by federal law enforcement during demonstrations in Portland.

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The suit names President Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and its officials, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the federal agents involved as defendants, and seeks damages for the injuries sustained by the plaintiffs and a declaration that the Trump administration and federal agents violated the Constitution and federal law in their actions.

"President Trump, Chad Wolf and this administration have attempted to silence a movement that dares to realize the American dream of a nation where everyone, not just white people, can live free," said Kelly Simon, interim legal director of ACLU Oregon. "This lawsuit seeks to hold the Trump administration accountable for its dangerous and profoundly unconstitutional actions in Portland. Black lives matter."

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The plaintiffs include Chris David, a Navy veteran who was seen on video apparently being beaten and gassed by federal agents; Mark Pettibone, who said he was abducted by federal agents in an unmarked van; and Mac Smiff, who said he was temporarily blinded after being shot in the head with an impact munition.

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"Protesting is supposed to be the bedrock of democracy, but when protests are about Black lives, it is shut down," said Shanice Clarke of the Black Millennial Movement, another plaintiff in the suit.

Trump sent federal police to Portland with an executive order aimed at protecting statues, monuments and other government property amid protests against systemic racism and police brutality, despite opposition from local leaders.

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A group of Oregon lawmakers and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum have also filed lawsuits regarding the actions of federal law enforcement.

Protesters march for social justice

The Surrogate's Court building exterior remains vandalized while Occupy City Hall protests continue outside City Hall in New York City on June 30. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
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