Freedom of assembly: Federal arrest practice challenged in Portland

The federal officers confronting protesters in Portland are employing a questionable tactic that may well violate the protester’s right to free assembly. The officers arrest them on such minor offenses as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property then release them from custody while waiting for trial only when they agree to abandon their protest. (Propublica, July 28, 2020, by Dara Lind)

The U.S. District Court in Portland is looking into the practice. While the government may impose conditions for release to prevent further criminal activity, such conditions would presumably be set when it is clear that the person charged constitutes a danger to society. Also, an arrest does not necessarily mean the person is guilty so presumption of innocence is in play. (Reason, July 29, 2020, by Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy)

For related FAC coverage, click here, here, and here.