Joint statement by the ACLU of Washington and ACLU of Oregon regarding reports of interference with journalists and legal observers and potential armed extremist activity in Vancouver, WA

News Release: 
Monday, November 2, 2020
Vancouver, WA – Reports have surfaced alleging that law enforcement officers in Vancouver, Washington interfered with journalists and legal observers performing constitutionally protected functions during a vigil in memory of Kevin Peterson, Jr. who was killed on Thursday, October 29, 2020, by Clark County sheriff's deputies in Hazel Dell.  A journalist and a legal observer were arrested during the vigil. Additionally, there were reports that law enforcement officers were not adequately protecting protesters from individuals and militarized groups seeking to interfere with the vigil. The ACLU of Washington and the ACLU of Oregon jointly state:

“Nobody should be forced to grieve under threat of police or extremist violence. As we mourn the loss of another Black life at the hands of police, we are deeply concerned by reports that law enforcement agents have been harassing and arresting members of the press and legal observers, interfering with the constitutional right to free speech, and failing to protect those participating in the vigil from private, militarized groups. We will be monitoring the situation in the Vancouver area closely for violations of the federal and state constitutions and of state law.”