Mom arrested by feds says she was not read rights
A Beaverton lawyer arrested early Tuesday by federal officers at Portland protests said officers never informed her of her rights or identified where they worked.
Jennifer Kristiansen, 37, said she was standing arm-in-arm with other women as part of the Wall of Moms near the front line of protesters converged outside the federal courthouse. She now faces criminal charges and is not allowed to go back on the federal property to protest.
The mothers’ group has drawn hundreds of people downtown to join nightly protests against systemic racism.
Federal officers released tear gas on the crowd outside the courthouse just before 12:30 a.m. As the moms backed away with the rest of the crowd, Kristiansen said she found herself near the edge of the group. She heard a woman nearby say she had been hit by an officer’s baton. Kristiansen said she put her arm in between the officer and people retreating.
Another officer, wearing a black uniform, arrived and pointed at Kristiansen.
“He said to the billy club guy, ‘That’s the one who hit me,’” Kristiansen told the Oregonian/ OregonLive hours after her arrest Tuesday.
Neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the Department of Justice immediately responded to requests for comments about Kristiansen’s arrest.
The officers separated Kristiansen from the line in a series of actions she described as a blur. She said she had seen a video clip of her arrest that showed an officer restraining her with an arm across her chest.
“That must be why my sternum hurts today,” she said.
One of the arresting officers turned her around and pushed her against the wall of the federal courthouse, she said, then touched her breast and butt. It’s unclear if it was intentional or not.
Officers handcuffed her and took her into the federal courthouse. One handcuff was so loose it slipped off, allowing her to quickly send a text from her Apple Watch to her husband: “Angry cursing face emoji. Sorry can’t talk right now. Police officer face emoji.”
She said she was put in an elevator in the building with four officers. They took her to a holding cell on the fourth floor, where she stayed by herself. No one ever read her rights to her, she said.
She tried to sleep, but barely did since the only place in the cell to sleep was a small metal bench.
When officers tried to ask her questions about what happened, she said she chose not to speak, citing her Fifth Amendment rights.
A few times, people came in and checked on her. She asked for a blanket or if the officer could bring her flannel from her bag — they did not. The person said he was sorry he couldn’t bring it to her, Kristiansen said.
“Don’t tell me you’re sorry when you’re not,” she said she thought to herself. “People who are sorry do not do what they did.”
She said she is not dangerous, but was being treated like she was dangerous.
Around 7:15 a.m., she was driven to the Multnomah County Detention Center, where she waited in a cell until 1:25 p.m.
County jail records confirm she was booked into jail at 7:20 a.m. at the request of U.S. Marshals.
She said didn’t know what agency arrested her until she asked how she could get her personal items back later. Sheriff’s deputies said they didn’t have it but that Federal Protective Service did.
No officers identified themselves to her throughout the night, she said.
She also didn’t know until later what she had been arrested for, and found out from a member of the sheriff’s department, not a federal officer. She was charged with misdemeanor assault of a federal officer and for refusing to leave federal property.
She said she was trying to leave federal property when she was detained and arrested. She said she would never hit an officer because she is a lawyer and would not want to jeopardize her job.
At 1:25 p.m., Kristiansen had her arraignment. When she was preparing to go, she was asked if she had her charging documents. She said she had never been given any. She also never got to call an attorney.
She was released a little after 4 p.m. along with four other protesters. She didn’t get her phone, identification or shoe laces back. She did leave with sore muscles from sitting in the cell and bruises from her arrest.
She will not be going back to the protest soon, she said, because part of the terms of her release are a curfew and staying away from that area downtown.
She said she feels an obligation to share her story, following the controversy surrounding federal officers in Portland.
She said her experience being arrested by federal officers was bad, but said immigrants and Black people have faced the same abuses for much longer.
“Not enough people paid attention,” she said about the Department of Homeland Security’s treatment of immigrants. “If it takes a tiny little rainbow-wearing white lady to bring attention to this problem that has been a problem for the immigrant community for a while, so be it.”
Protesters, including the Wall of Moms, march through downtown Portland at around 9 p.m. Tuesday. Dave Killen, staff