Officials from the Department of Justice have officially filed a request with the courts asking for the removal of special protection for journalists in the ongoing riots in Portland, due to rioters often disguising themselves as journalists in order to commit violence, according to Politico.
In a filing submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon, the Department of Justice asks Simon to consider overturning his previous temporary restraining order (TRO) issuing special protections for journalists, which, among other privileges, allowed journalists to remain in place even if the police force rioters back or attempt to disperse the crowds.
In the filings, lawyers with the Justice Department revealed that “individuals are abusing the TRO to masquerade as members of the press and evade lawful orders, or actively participate in protest activities and even illegal acts while holding themselves out to be members of the press under the protection of the TRO.” The Department of Justice included at least seven recorded instances of rioters abusing this protection, disguising themselves as members of the press in order to carry out acts of violence.
The ongoing riots, which have lasted for over 60 consecutive days in the city, are focusing on a federal courthouse in Portland that far-left domestic terrorists, affiliated with Antifa and Black Lives Matter, have come to view as a symbol of an “oppressive” federal government. The courthouse has been defaced with graffiti and had explosives thrown at it, ranging from fireworks to actual homemade explosive devices. Metal fencing and concrete barriers have been erected around the courthouse, with the city of Portland attempting to fine the federal government for building these barricades.
Although recent reports indicate that a deal has been reached between the federal government and Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D-Ore.), federal officials have said that the federal forces will remain in the city as long as they need to, until they have reason to believe that the courthouse will no longer be attacked by terrorists.