Skip to main content

Arrested, Assaulted, and Angry in Portland, 2020

 In July, 2020, my friend Jennifer was arrested. She was pulled, violently, from the Wall of Moms while protesting peacefully following the murder of George Floyd and the protests that continued during Operation Diligent Valor

She has been interviewed by media across state lines, countries, and continents. One of the earliest articles was posted by shortly after the arrest, but her voice, all 5 feet tall Jewish Lawyer Mom of it, was repeated and repeated and repeated as she called out the federal police services, and then-president Donald Trump for fascism. 

Jennifer describes her home of Portland, Oregon, as a place of protest that must contend with the fact that Oregon itself was founded with racist intentions. And it was under DT's fascism that America's  own police force abducted citizens, in the street, in unmarked vehicles. 

This was Portland in the summer of 2020. This was what mothers knew as they walked through the streets. A people's show of solidarity. 

No Justice. 

No Peace. 

An iphone sits in a drawer. Two years dead. SIM card ejected. Just in case

Because in the background of the tear gas, the riot gear, and the physical violence - technological abuse was pervasive and deployed against American citizens under the guise of "anti terrorism" policies. 

The ABA Journal issued a small article about the federal prosecutors quietly dismissing "dozens" of cases of protest arrests. Jennifer's was among them. As she notes, her case was dismissed "with prejudice" - unusual in federal cases and as close to an admission of wrongful arrest as you may receive from a federal prosecutor. 

She has issued a lawsuit against the federal government for the violation of her rights, as reported by AP News, including her wrongful arrest, the abuse received at the hands of officers, and the failure to abide by her constitutional protections.

But the results of such case are uncertain now, with the release of Egbert v Boule (2022) this past summer - an overturn of Bivens (1971) and the ability to seek monetary damages from federal agents by private citizens. A conservative court, by a 6-3 split, has decided that only Congress can legislate the ability to bring such civil actions. 

So, apparently, as digested by your resident Canadian, you can be protected from unreasonable search and seizure under the American constitution, allegedly, but you just can't sue for monetary remedy in violation of those rights...? Make it make sense, SCOTUS.

Jennifer maintains her causes of action in tort remedies. Operation Diligent Valour was recalled. Portland may or may not still have unmarked federal officers in the streets. And the number of grieving black mothers continues to grow. 

What did we learn? What did we change? 

Jennifer tells us that we cannot imagine that any one of us will ever complete the work. But in knowing that, it does not absolve us of our responsibility to carry the burden a little further. And to bring the goal a little closer. And. And. And.