PORTLAND -- Search warrants targeting three Portland homes last week were part of a federal effort to learn more about the anarchist movement and vandalism in downtown Seattle during a May Day rally, according to a report by KGW news partner The Oregonian.
The National Lawyers Guild in Seattle issued a statement Thursday condemning the raids, calling them "a pretext for harassing political activists. The Federal Bureau of Investigation served the subpoenas at the same time that heavily armed agents raided homes in the Portland area, reportedly seizing anarchist literature, black clothing, and computers."
The newspaper reported that Dennison Williams, 33, and Leah Plante, 24, who lived in two of the homes, had been called to testify Thursday before a federal grand jury. Both said they would recite only their names and shield themselves from further questioning by invoking their constitutional rights, The Oregonian reported.
Left behind at one of the homes was a search warrant affidavit that said agents were looking for anti-government or anarchist literature or material; black clothing, backpacks, face coverings and shoes; green, red, black, grey or blue/purple paint; sticks and flags carried during the commission of the offenses and material for making flags; computers, cell phones and electronic storage media, and flares or similar incendiaries, the Oregonian reported.
An anarchist group at the May Day rally targeted the federal courthouse in Seattle for vandalism. The group wore the same black outfits and carried distinct flags, with poles that had nails or screws attached, the paper said.
The Lawyer's Guild continued in its statement by saying "while grand juries are part of our federal criminal justice system, the grand jury was intended to serve as a protector of people’s rights and should not be used as a mechanism for intimidating those who speak out against social and economic injustice in our society."