Angeline “Angie” Mead says Department of Homeland Security officials violated her Fourth Amendment rights after an officer allegedly shot her in the right eye with a “high velocity projectile” during a downtown Portland protest, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.
The injury came amid a wave of munitions deployed by the feds into protesters’ faces during the summer of 2020. Mead is a Black Lives Matter supporter who attended a protest in downtown Portland on July 26, according to the lawsuit.
As federal agents herded protesters away from the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, the complaint alleges, Mead, who was wearing swim goggles, turned her head in the direction of federal law enforcement officers approaching her from behind. A federal agent standing about 20 feet away then shot her in the right eye “without cause or warning,” her attorneys allege.
“Terrified, Mead immediately lost all vision in her right eye and thought she lost her eye entirely,” Mead’s lawyers said Monday. “[S]he felt blood running down her face as friends called out for a medic. When a medic finally arrived to quickly examine her injuries, he asked if her eyes were ‘different colors’ which increased Mead’s fear she might be permanently blinded.”
Mead was then rushed to the emergency room at Oregon Health & Science University, the complaint says. During a follow-up exam on July 29, she was diagnosed with a “vitreous hemorrhage of the right eye and traumatic iritis.” She then underwent laser retinopexy surgery to repair a round hole in her retina, the lawsuit says.
Mead’s injury occurred at the height of nightly protests around the federal courthouse in downtown Portland last summer. Each night, protesters gathered at the metal fence surrounding the courthouse, sometimes trying to tear it down. Federal agents dispatched by then-President Donald Trump repeatedly fired projectiles at the heads of people in the crowd.
In the week WW spent on the scene, we observed two people tended to by medics after head injuries. It’s not clear if Mead was one of them.
The lawsuit alleges that the federal agent, identified as “John Doe 62,” violated her Fourth Amendment rights.
“At all times material Plaintiff had a protected liberty interest under the Fourth Amendment not to be subjected to an unreasonable seizure of her person through the application of undue, unnecessary, and excessive force,” the complaint says. “Defendant John Doe 62 seized plaintiff through the application force and such use of force was unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive and violated plaintiff’s rights under the Fourth Amendment.”
The lawsuit also names federal officials as defendants, including DHS regional director Gabriel Russell, DHS deputy director for operations Allen Scott Jones, U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, and Federal Protective Service deputy director Richard “Kris” Cline.