ACLU Files Suit Against Portland Police to Stop the Livestreaming of Riots

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

 

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau.

The suit seeks to block cops from livestreaming riots.

The Oregon branch claims that, “By livestreaming videos of protestors, PPB collects or maintains information about their political or social views, associations and activities.”

From the document:

Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law for PPB’s violations, which pose a serious and imminent threat of irreparable harm to them and other protesters alike. Specifically, PPB cannot “undo” a video through which its officers identify or otherwise collect information about a protester. Nor can it force a third party to “un-learn” information about a protester that the third party obtains by watching PPB’s live stream. Moreover, any damages associated with such conduct by PPB would be, by their very nature, extremely difficult or impossible to quantify.

As reported by Oregon Live, the videos get up close and personal:

The police livestream zooms in on individual faces, making protesters vulnerable to face surveillance technology, the civil rights agency contends. … The Police Bureau put a link to its livestream on its Twitter feed three times this month. Portland police and federal officers have made arrests after reviewing video footage to identify people accused of committing violence or property damage.

And more than a few would prefer to remain off-camera:

Many of the…protesters whose likenesses and voices have appeared on PPB’s videos…want not to be recorded. Several have shouted as much at PPB’s cameraperson; others have shone bright lights at its camera in attempts to obscure the camera’s view of the crowds; still others have used squeakers to obscure PPB’s audio recording.

As per the suit, the Police Bureau’s in violation of law ORS 181a.250:

No law enforcement agency, as defined in ORS 181A.010 (Definitions for ORS 181A.010 to 181A.350), may collect or maintain information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct.

As noted by The Daily Wire, Oregon ACLU Interim Executive Director Jann Carson said there’s no excuse for the cops’ unlawful surveillance:

“Unlawful police surveillance threatens our First Amendment rights. The Portland Police Bureau has no constitutional reason to train its video cameras on demonstrators — or to broadcast those images publicly on the internet, where federal agents and others can analyze them.”

The police sure are taking a beating as of late — and not just literally.

On Thursday, Mayor Ted Wheeler apologized for Portland law enforcement’s use of tear gas.

“There were times early on in these demonstrations where I believe I saw the Portland Police Bureau make mistakes when it came to crowd dispersal. I saw what appeared to be and what was reported from the streets to be indiscriminate use of crowd control devices … I apologize to those nonviolent demonstrators who were subjected to the use of CS gas or [Long Range Acoustic Devices]. It should never have happened. I take personal responsibility for it and I’m sorry.”

It seems to me if people are concerned about the questionable actions of law enforcement, they should prefer more videos, not fewer. And perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought the rioters are trying to make the news.

As an aside, concerning tear gas and other non-lethal means of crowd control, in my view, the last thing departments around the country should do is take away those implements. If you remove every non-lethal and non-violent method, what’s left?

Not what anyone wants. Or, at least, I hope not. And without cameras on, the potential for the undesirable only goes up.

Will liberal forces take away non-firearm options and decrease our visibility of goings-on, as they champion the safety of those out in the streets? That wouldn’t make a lot of sense, but this is 2020. All bets are off. Expect the unexpected.

And the nonsensical.

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

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