Plaintiff James McNulty, 42, is currently employed as an educational department manager at a local university hospital. He has attended the protests outside the Hatfield Courthouse in support of Black Lives Matter and against the disproportionate use of police violence against Black people.
James McNulty attended the protests for the first time on Tuesday night, July 21, 2020, after seeing the inordinate federal response in previous days. At approximately 11:15 p.m., McNulty was standing with other protesters on SW Third Avenue near the intersection with Madison Street when he heard flash-bang grenades. When he looked towards the Hatfield Courthouse, he saw federal officers wearing camouflage uniforms marching up Main Street towards the intersection with SW Third Avenue, launching tear gas canisters and smoke grenades. The officers came without any warning, and Mr. McNulty did not hear them issue any orders of any kind. To escape from the tear gas, McNulty moved through the intersection of Main Street and SW Third Avenue, crossing in front of the federal officers. As he crossed the intersection, his eyes and face began to burn. The federal officers then shot Mr. McNulty four times: three times with rubber bullets and one time with a pepper ball. He was given no warning and was not disobeying any orders or engaging in any violence before he was shot.
Later, at the emergency room, McNulty learned that one of the munitions that struck him in the back had not only gone through his clothes, but pieced his skin, fat layer, and at least one layer of muscle. The wound was severe enough that McNulty had to have a CT scan to confirm that it had not punctured his peritoneal cavity.
"What we saw in Portland this summer was the U.S. government using indiscriminate violence to suppress the protected free speech of our citizens. All Americans should be very concerned.
“I don't think it's an exaggeration to call this a constitutional crisis. In Portland, the First Amendment rights of our people to speak freely, to gather and air their grievances, were violently suppressed by an unwanted, uninvited and unauthorized paramilitary force.
“Black Lives Matter. Our Black neighbors, friends and family are valuable members of our community who deserve justice and equality."