Police ‘unlawful assembly’ powers come under fire in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon lawmaker is trying to repeal an arcane state law that critics say allowed officers to threaten racial injustice protesters in Portland with arrest, tear gas and rubber bullets if they didn’t disperse. Police are allowed to do that under an Oregon law that critics say allows police to violate people’s First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. A Black lawmaker in the predominantly white state held a hearing on her legislation Monday. Law enforcement has already begun lining up against it. Other states have dealt with the issue. In 1971, the Virginia Supreme Court invalidated Virginia’s unlawful assembly statute on First Amendment grounds.