Case: American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon v. City of Portland

Oregon state trial court

Filed Date: July 29, 2020

Closed Date: April 8, 2022

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This complaint was brought in the County of Multnomah Circuit Court for the State of Oregon on July 29, 2020. The suit was brought by the ACLU of Oregon and an anonymous individual plaintiff ("Protester 1") against the City of Portland. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys from the ACLU of Oregon and private counsel. The complaint came amidst police crackdowns on protests against police brutality that followed the killing of George Floyd. According to the complaint, the Portland Police …

This complaint was brought in the County of Multnomah Circuit Court for the State of Oregon on July 29, 2020. The suit was brought by the ACLU of Oregon and an anonymous individual plaintiff ("Protester 1") against the City of Portland. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys from the ACLU of Oregon and private counsel. The complaint came amidst police crackdowns on protests against police brutality that followed the killing of George Floyd.

According to the complaint, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) had been livestreaming the protests. Yet, the plaintiffs argued, this violated Oregon state law, which prohibited the collection of information about protesters political, religious, or social views. PPB argued that the livestreams fell into one of the narrow exceptions of this law that allowed for such data collection if they pertain to criminal investigations. However, the complaint alleged that PPB wrote in an email that they used to livestreams to inform the public about the protests. Additionally, in a 1988 consent decree the PPB agreed to follow the provisions of that law in exchange for the ACLU's assurance not to litigate data collection that occurred prior to 1988. Therefore, the plaintiffs in this case argued that the PPB was in violation of both the Oregon state law and the 1988 consent decree by collecting such information on protesters. They sought declaratory relief and temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief that would prohibit the PPB from recording protests unless it was in pursuit of a criminal investigation.

On August 5, Judge Stephen Bushong granted the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO). However, the order did not prohibit the livestreaming, only the "collecting or maintaining" of the videos complained about by the plaintiffs. Judge Bushong also clarified that the order does not apply to failure to disperse orders given by the police.

The court ruled on cross-motions for summary judgment on December 21, 2021. It held for plaintiffs. The circuit court held that the PPB's practice of filming protestors—and internally broadcasting that video—violated state law. Specifically, state law prohibited 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. The court also held that PPB’s livestreams violated an agreement between the ACLU of Oregon and the City of Portland/PPB regarding the collection of information about protestors.

The officially closed on April 8, 2022.

Summary Authors

Jack Hibbard (8/12/2020)

Jordan Katz (5/3/2022)

People


Judge(s)

Bushong, Stephen K. (Oregon)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Kessler, Alan Lloyd (Oregon)

Lalovic, Ursula M (Oregon)

Perini-Abbott, Joanna (Oregon)

Piper, Edward A (Oregon)

Simon, Kelly K. (Oregon)

Judge(s)

Bushong, Stephen K. (Oregon)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Kessler, Alan Lloyd (Oregon)

Lalovic, Ursula M (Oregon)

Perini-Abbott, Joanna (Oregon)

Piper, Edward A (Oregon)

Simon, Kelly K. (Oregon)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

July 29, 2020

July 29, 2020

Complaint

Temporary Restraining Order

July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 16, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Oregon

Case Type(s):

Policing

Special Collection(s):

Police Violence Protests

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 29, 2020

Closing Date: April 8, 2022

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

ACLU of Oregon and an anonymous private individual

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Portland (Portland), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Record-keeping