News Release

Trump’s “Illegal Use of Paramilitary Force” in Portland


MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at

Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law recently wrote “Trump’s Illegal Use of Military Against Anti-Racist Uprisings Portends Battles Ahead” and “Protesters Attacked by Police Are Suing to Vindicate Their Constitutional Rights.”

She said today: “In a continuation of his cynical abuse of power in the run-up to the presidential election, Donald Trump’s secret paramilitary force is illegally terrorizing the people of Portland. One man who was holding a speaker was shot in the head with an impact munition that fractured his skull and shattered his face. Unidentified federal agents in unmarked vehicles are snatching peaceful protesters off the streets, transporting them to unknown locations, without informing them of why they’re being arrested, and later releasing them with no record of their arrest. These actions are reminiscent of dictatorships’ secret police who kidnap and ‘disappear’ opponents of the regime. They are calculated to deter people from exercising their First Amendment right to protest” against racism and white supremacy.

Cohn added: “The seizures and detentions without probable cause violate the Fourth Amendment. Trump targeted Portland, which has seen 53 straight nights of demonstrations since the public lynching of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Trump is reportedly planning to take his illegal tactics nationwide. Fortunately, lawsuits are being filed to stop these egregious constitutional violations.”

Cohn is former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her other recent pieces include “Trump Is Trying to Hide U.S. and Israeli War Crimes by Attacking the International Criminal Court.” She is author of several books and editor of Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues and The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse.