PORTLAND, Ore. -- The U.S. District Court of Oregon in Portland today approved class certification in the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) lawsuit challenging the mass detention, or police “kettle,” of nearly 400 counter protesters and bystanders on June 4, 2017. The day of the kettle, thousands of people took to the streets in downtown Portland to show their disapproval of the “Trump Free Speech Rally,” an “alt-right” gathering.
“The Portland Police Bureau’s response to protest has been heavy-handed, frightening, and dangerous,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Detaining hundreds of innocent people at a protest and taking their photo sends the message that if you dare to exercise your First Amendment rights, you will be punished. It chills speech.”
“We expected and appreciate the court’s decision today, and we’re thrilled to officially represent this class in federal court,” dos Santos said. “We just climbed one step closer to holding the City of Portland accountable for violating the constitutional rights of hundreds of people."
The city auditor’s Independent Police Review also released a report today that found the Portland Police Bureau did not have the legal authority for the mass detention that day.
“The IPR report confirms what we have said all along: Portland Police officers violated the U.S. Constitution when they kettled nearly nearly 400 people without reasonable suspicion of a crime,” dos Santos said. “Reporters, bystanders, a legal observer, and hundreds of law-abiding protesters were part of this unconstitutional mass detention. Even the City’s own police-review agency has expressed concerns with PPB’s actions that day.”
The ACLU of Oregon lawsuit named five plaintiffs who were rounded up and detained in the kettle on June 4, 2017: Patrick Garrison, Jade Sturms, Josef Haber, Chris Whaley, and Jennifer Nickolaus. The court today certified that the five ACLU clients will now represent an entire class of plaintiffs made up of everybody caught in the kettle that day.
The ACLU of Oregon is asking people who were detained and prevented from leaving by the Portland police on June 4, 2017, to contact them via their website.
The complaint is online here.
Photos of the ACLU of Oregon clients (photo credit: Lindsay Beaumont) are online here.