A bill seeking to crack down on masked rioters draws concerns over free speech and privacy


Legislation targeting mask-wearing rioters has drawn criticism from a coalition of civil rights and community organizations that say it’ll have a chilling effect on protests while setting the state back on its efforts to halt mass incarceration.

Courtney Helstein, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said while the amendment improved the legislation, her organization still opposed it.

She said there is wide surveillance of protests and there are many “legitimate, constitutionally protected” reasons why someone would wear a mask to a protest, such as wearing a bandana in case police use tear gas. She said other reasons could include health reasons or fearing retaliation from a landlord or employer, as well as not wanting to be tracked by a domestic abuser.

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