- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2020

A federal judge delivered a stern scolding Thursday to Homeland Security over its behavior during the Portland riots, saying it appears agents and officers intentionally targeted reporters with tear gas and less-lethal munitions during clashes outside the courthouse.

Judge Michael H. Simon issued a preliminary injunction ordering federal officers not to harass anyone wearing a press pass, carrying professional journalistic gear or otherwise marking themselves as members of the media.

And he ordered the feds to come up with a system for attaching numbers to all federal officers and agents folks can identify anyone who breaks his orders and does target the press.

Judge Simon, an Obama appointee to the bench, specifically cited Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 official at Homeland Security, for seemingly flouting earlier rulings by calling them “offensive” and saying they wouldn’t affect how the department is doing business. Judge Simon called those comments “disdainful.”

dafabet手机版平台“The federal defendants have not recognized the wrongful nature of their conduct but instead assert that they have only engaged in lawful conduct. They have not disciplined any federal agent or officer for any conduct,” he wrote in a lengthy opinion spanking the Trump administration.

dafabet手机版平台He did say some protesters have been cloaking themselves as press and engaging in riotous behavior. Those, he said, can still be arrested, as can anyone engaging in illegal activities.

dafabet手机版平台But he said that shouldn’t be an issue because actual reporters have been warned to stay to the side of any actions or clashes, so law enforcement shouldn’t have difficulty separating journalists from protesters.

Reporters filed statements in the case saying they’d been struck by rubber bullets and other less-lethal weaponry aimed directly at them, in defiance of the judge’s earlier rulings.

dafabet手机版平台“Indeed, several of the witnesses have experience reporting in war zones around the world and at violent protests in Hong Kong, Oakland, and Seattle. They emphasize how they have never been shot at or tear gassed until coming to Portland,” the judge wrote.

The case arose earlier this summer after legal observers and reporters complained that local police were targeting them while they were trying to provide news coverage of the racial justice protests. Judge Simon issued orders directing local officers not to harass the press, and later expanded those directives to include federal officers.

dafabet手机版平台Thursday’s ruling expands those directives in time and scope.

dafabet手机版平台Federal officials said the directive isn’t necessary because their officers have taken a lower profile, now that local police have stepped up to protect the federal courthouse that had been the scene of so much violence during July.

But Judge Simon said federal officials have also said they could redeploy at any time, and he wants a blockade in place so if they do, the press won’t be endangered.

Earlier, the judge had pondered having the federal officers wear sports-style jerseys with numbers so they could be easily identified in cases of wrong-doing. And he had suggested having the American Civil Liberties Union, which is leading the lawsuit, be in charge of licensing reporters in order to weed out protesters using fake press credentials as a tactic.

He backed away from both of those ideas, though has said the feds do need to come up with a system for identifying their officers.

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