US Navy Veteran Christopher David and ACLU Sues Federal Government Over Attack at Portland Protest

US Navy veteran Christopher David says he was tear gassed and beaten by federal agents at a Portland protest last month.
US Navy veteran Christopher David says he was tear gassed and beaten by federal agents at a Portland protest last month. Doug Brown, ACLU of Oregon

US Navy veteran Christopher David, who was seen on camera being tear gassed and attacked by federal agents, is teaming up with the ACLU to sue the federal government for allegedly violating his constitutional rights. David says he was peacefully marching with the Black Lives Matter movement in Portland, Oregon last month at the time of the attack.

“If the U.S. government could do this to our fellow citizens, where would it end?” David wrote in an opinion piece for USA Today. “We’ll now have to get our answer in court.”

David said that 36 years ago, he took an oath at the United States Naval Academy “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” He went on to serve in the Navy for eight years.

He said he had attended the protests last month in support of Black Lives Matter after seeing other videos of peaceful protesters being attacked by law enforcement, or those allegedly pretending to be law enforcement. He arrived before 9 p.m. in the evening, when the protests had been festive and confined to just four city blocks, he said.

David said he then watched law enforcement launch themselves into the crowds with tear gas and batons. David said he himself was both attacked by batons and tear gas when he approached law enforcement to ask whether they were taking their oath to uphold the Constitution seriously.

He escaped the altercation with a broken hand, temporary loss of vision and several other injuries, which were treated by a volunteer medic on the scene, he said.

He is just one of several veterans and other protesters teaming up with ACLU Oregon to sue President Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, DHS officials and federal agents for various allegations related to the Portland protests in support of Black Lives Matter, including accusations of protesters, like Mark Pettibone, being abducted by federal agents in unmarked vehicles.

“I still haven’t fully come to terms with what it means that I was kidnapped by my government,” Pettibone said, according to the ACLU Oregon. “People need to know what happened to me and the government needs to be held accountable so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to someone else.”

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said on CNN that he was “familiar with the video” involving David and that “maintaining an appropriate response is an ongoing obligation.” 

The U.S. Department of Justice has said it is conducting an internal review of the incident, The New York Times reported.

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to DHS for comment.

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