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Court agrees Portland police violated law by livestreaming protests

A Multnomah County Circuit Court held that Portland police violated Oregon state law by broadcasting and livestreaming protests.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Multnomah County Circuit Court held that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) violated Oregon law (ORS 181A.250)by livestreaming protests. The state law prohibits police from collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of people who are not suspected of criminal activity.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement on Monday calling the decision a victory.

“We are pleased that Judge Ryan was willing to apply Oregon law in a commonsense way to protect our right to protest without fear of government surveillance or government-supported doxing," said ACLU Foundation of Oregon legal director Kelly Simon. "This should put all Oregon law enforcement agencies on notice that police have no business filming, photographing, or otherwise collecting information on protesters. Protest is fundamental to democracy. Protest is not a crime. Period.”

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The began in late July when ACLU and "Protester 1" sued PPB for violating ORS 181A.250. In the news release from Monday, "Protester 1" was identified as Marie Tyvoll.

“When I showed up to support Black Lives at a protest, I did not expect that the police would invest so much time, money, and energy in broadcasting my face over the internet," said Tyvoll. "Standing up to injustice is important to me; having my own government deliberately put me at risk for broadcasting my location and political stance — known as ‘doxxing’ — is unbelievable. In a time when extremists and hate groups violently attack activists, I am grateful that the Court saw how harmful this practice is and chose to put a permanent stop to it.”

Tyvoll worked with pro bono attornies. Alan Kessler, one of their attornies, said in the news release, "The Portland Police Bureau and the Portland City Attorney’s office are accustomed to playing word games with our civil liberties. We are grateful that Judge Ryan saw through the City’s obfuscation and identified the PPB’s practice of filming and live-streaming demonstrators for what it is: an unlawful collection of information about protesters’ free speech activities.”

The agreement between ACLU and PPB on what sorts of things PPB can and cannot collect on people who are not suspected of doing anything unlawful was established in 1988 and can be viewed here.

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