Portland has been a protest scene for decades, and the last 12 years, since the Great Financial Crisis, have given residents even more reasons to link up and shout about their cause.
For many years, videographer Mike Strickland, who goes by the moniker “Laughing at Liberals,” covered different protests in Portland, selling his video to news outlets. Strickland knew the protesters and their various groups, and they knew him.
But in 2016, some of the protesters decided they weren’t interested in having Strickland around. At an event in July of that year, they roughed him up and yelled at him to leave. Strickland backed away, shooting video the entire time. The protesters then rushed him again, but this time Strickland pulled out his legal and licensed Glock 40.
The protesters backed off. Then the cops showed up and arrested Strickland.
He has now been convicted of 10 felonies and 11 misdemeanors, even though he has video footage of exactly what happened. A judge convicted him in a bench trial then he lost on appeal, and then the Oregon State Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
Now he is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
His case seems straightforward. He’s a member of the press, so his rights are explicitly covered in the Bill of Rights. He had as much right as anyone else to be on the street, he had the right to carry his weapon and it was duly registered with the proper authorities.
But none of that matters in Portland, where the current district attorney is routinely throwing out cases against violent protesters.
We’ll see if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to take this case and do the right thing. Clearly many of the citizens of Portland and Oregon have decided how they want to run their jurisdiction, which should be fair warning for anyone who decides to go there. Your rights are protected, as long as you agree with one point of view. If you don’t, then you have no rights.