A leader of the Black Lives Matter said the federal government can't be trusted after doing demonstrators to Portland.
Black Lives Matter has filed a lawsuit to prevent the Trump administration from sending federal agents to Chicago.
According to Bloomberg, Black Lives Matter – along with several other civil rights groups – has stated that the federal government cannot be trusted to maintain peace and protect protesters' rights. In their lawsuit, Black Lives Matter cited cases of abuse from Portland, Oregon, where masked federal agents allegedly beat and kidnapped peaceful demonstrators.
"We know the authoritarian tactics they have planned based on their activities in Portland," said lawyer Tess Kleinhaus, who filed the lawsuit on Thursday.
"The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent federal law enforcement officers from violating the first and fourth (right to modify) protesters, legal observers, and journalists."
Both the city of Portland and the state of Oregon have filed similar lawsuits against the Trump administration. As LegalReader.com noted on Wednesday, Portland has repeatedly insisted that it does not want or welcome federal intervention in its ongoing protests. But President Trump has since announced that he will send law enforcement officers to a number of cities, including Chicago, Albuquerque and Detroit.
Aislinn Pulley, founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago, told protesters that the Trump administration is trying to silence protesters.
"They are trying to suppress our just anger, and we are not being suppressed, we are going to fight back," said Pulley. "We see what happens in Portland, that was the first test case. And now it comes here."
Chicago police car. Image via Wikimedia Commons / User: Daniel Schwen. (CCA-BY-4.0)
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has expressed limited, conditional support for federal intervention and said she would only accept Washington's support if her agents worked with local law enforcement agencies.
Bloomberg notes that Black Lives Matter has specifically requested a court order that prohibits federal agents from disrupting or disrupting the group's legitimate protests. Such an order would prevent federal officials from arresting demonstrators for no probable reason.
Black Lives Matter also wants all federal officials overseeing protests to wear clearly visible badges, including departmental and personal badges.
The Trump administration, the Chicago Sun Times said, vigorously defended the role of its officers in raids.
Nevertheless, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, told Fox News that federal agents are not being sent to Chicago to harass demonstrators, but are being used to fight crime.
"What we're talking about in Chicago is just the criminal activity we see on the streets, be it gang violence, illegal narcotics and drug-related crime, and the like," said Wolf. “And so the Department of Justice, the DEA, the FBI and others work with elements from the Department of Homeland Security every day on these criminal investigations and criminal activities.
"And they do that on site with law enforcement agencies," added Wolf. "And I think that will continue to work well."
Black Lives Matter remains skeptical, however.
"The president has repeatedly spoken out against peaceful demonstrators and has even instructed his agents to remove peaceful demonstrators using physical violence and chemical weapons for public reasons outside the White House," the lawsuit said. "The President has repeatedly warned the nation's cities that he will use similar violence against their civilians to end the peaceful protest."
Despite her conditional welcome to federal aid, Lightfoot also promised to take legal action against the federal government if its agents start using Portland-style tactics against Windy City demonstrators.
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