While leading I & A, Brian Murphy compiled intelligence reports on two journalists–a New York Times reporter and Lawfare’s editor-in-chief– who had published leaked department documents. Murphy also compiled reports analyzing protesters' electronic messages that discussed tactics such as which routes to follow and how to avoid the police.
The lawsuit claims that the filming of demonstrators violates a state law that prohibits collecting information about the political, religious, or social views of an individual or group who are not suspected of criminal activity. The practice could also discourage protesters from attending demonstrations to avoid state surveillance.
The district judge rejected the notion that journalists had no legal right to remain in an area where officers had issued an order to disperse. "Without journalists and legal observers, there is only the government’s side of the story to explain why a ‘riot’ was declared and the public streets were ‘closed’ and whether law enforcement acted properly in effectuating that order,” the judge wrote.
“We are today asking the federal court to stop the federal police from secretly stopping and forcibly grabbing Oregonians off our streets,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosemblum said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.