U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon says he is mulling over whether he will require federal officers in the Portland, Oregon, area to wear large identifying numbers on so that people can identify them easier in cases of excessive force.
The jerseys would be similar to that worn by team sports players.
What are the details?
According to Politico, Simon on Friday told attorneys that he believes the move would be “appropriate”
“I do think it might be appropriate to require any federal law enforcement officer who steps out of the federal courthouse building to wear a unique identifying code,” he reportedly said during the teleconference. “I’m taking this very, very seriously.”
Simon issued the remarks following news of the lawsuit involving accusations against federal law enforcement officials using excessive force during Portland riots. Simon is overseeing the suit, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The suit, according to the outlet, “accuses city police and federal law enforcement officers of unjustifiable use of force against journalists and legal observers monitoring the protests.”
Simon said he believed the notion could be a good one so that people could pinpoint which officers might be guilty of abuse without being able to dox the federal officer in question.
In response to the suit, Simon issued a temporary restraining order in late July preventing officers from using force against anyone they reasonably believe to be a member of the media or a “legal observer.”
Simon said that evidence existed finding that people were “abusing the privileges” he permitted to the press in his order.
“There may be some people wearing ‘press’ on their clothing and they’re engaging in unlawful acts,” he said.
Simon also noted that he doesn’t want any violence period.
“I don’t want anybody on either side of this issue to get killed,” he said elsewhere during the conference call. “I don’t want any of the protesters to get killed and I don’t want any law enforcement officers to get killed.”
“If [federal officials are] needed, they will deployed at a moment’s notice,” Simon added. “If no one has to leave the building, no one has to put on jerseys that have unique identifying codes.”
The order runs through Thursday.
‘A very deliberate and intentional violation’
Matthew Borden, an attorney working with the ACLU, said, “We haven’t had a situation where any officer has been injured by someone marked press or that they’ve meaningfully interfered with officers doing their jobs. What we’ve been talking about in our contempt motion is a very deliberate and intentional violation of the injunction.”
Borden also said that federal officers need to be put in check because he also worries that someone may end up dead.