PORTLAND, Ore. — At least a dozen people arrested during the protests in Portland have reportedly been told that a condition of their release was to not attend future protests while their cases were under review. Critics are calling it a clear violation of the protesters' constitutional rights.
ProPublica reports the language in at least one of the conditions for release reads, “Defendant may not attend any other protests, rallies, assemblies or public gathering in the state of Oregon." At least two others place no geographic restrictions, stating the defendant is to not participate in any demonstrations, rallies or assemblies.
The orders are signed by federal magistrate judges, according to ProPublica.
Many of the arrests are listed as federal misdemeanors. ProPublica reports some are as minor as failing to obey an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property.
One of those charged, Bailey Dreibelbis, told NPR he was arrested after going through an open fence outside the courthouse, He said there was no written or verbal indication the area was off limits. Dreibelbis was charged with failing to comply with a lawful order, a class c misdemeanor, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon reportedly said.
Constitutional lawyers say the release conditions are an almost certain violation of the First Amendment right to assembly.
"The government cannot force you to relinquish your First Amendment rights as a condition for your freedom. Release conditions must be related to public safety or flight. This is neither," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Somil Trivedi told CNN.
Kevin Sonoff, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Oregon told CNN the restrictions were added by the court, not his office.
"We have only sought geographic -- five blocks from the (Mark O. Hatfield) Courthouse -- and curfew restrictions," Sonoff said, according to CNN.
Ninety-four people have been arrested by federal agents during the course of the Portland protests, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Wednesday.