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Sep 4, 20

Portland, OR: General Defense Committee Statement on Recent Visits to Defendants by the FBI

Update on FBI harassment and repression in the Portland, Oregon area following the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations.

We have confirmed reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation visiting people’s homes in the last week or so. The result of some of these visits is that people with state charges, whether they have been no-complained or not, are being arrested by the FBI for federal charges of a similar nature. Below are some steps to dealing with a FBI visit:

  • DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. Just don’t talk. It is the safest approach for yourself, your friends, your comrades and the community.
  • Don’t answer the door. Unless they have a warrant, you do not have to open the door.
  • If you open the door by accident, say “I am busy right now and can’t talk” and close the door or “I am not going to answer any questions without my lawyer present” and close the door.
  • You can ask for a card from the agent, but, again, be careful because they are going to try to engage you in conversation in any way.
  • DO NOT LIE TO THE FBI. It is a crime with a potential for 5 to 7 years in federal prison. Saying “I don’t know” can count as a lie if they have evidence you might actually know something. The FBI uses the tactic of getting people to lie as a way to pressure them to turn on their comrades and talk.
  • If federal agents come to your door with a legitimate arrest warrant, you may want to step outside your door as quickly as possible and lock your house behind you. If the cops come inside to get you, they can (and will) search the house.
  • If law enforcement has a search warrant, read the warrant before letting them in (they can put it under the door or put it against the window) and look at what it is they can actually take.
  • After you have been visited and the agents have left, let your comrades know and call the GDC (503-442-0866) and NLG (833-680-1312) to let us know what happened.

If you were arrested on state charges (Interfering with a peace officer, unlawful direct laser, anything like this), you may want to take some preventive measures in case you are visited and/or arrested by federal law enforcement. Some steps to take are below:

  • Create a support plan with your friends, comrades and family to prepare. This link will take you to a series of questions to help you with that plan: https://pdxgdc.com/custodysupportplan/
  • Talk to your housemates, partners, lovers, or anyone else whose home you spend significant time at about what could happen. For example, talk through a police visitation, your arrest, or a subpoena to a grand jury, along with what your friends and family should do if the state shows up to talk to them.
  • Leave a poster or sticker or note by the door reminding yourself and others that you do not need to open the door to the police and that if questioned you should say “I will be remaining silent. I want to speak to a lawyer.”
  • It is possible the state may visit your family or your work. As an organization or group of friends, talk about how this might impact you and others in your organization or friend group and make a plan for how you want to address this with your family and/ or work.
  • Make a support plan that addresses these questions: what do you need in terms of mental, emotional and material support when you are faced with a crisis? What would you need if you got arrested? What would you need if you went to jail for an extended period?
  • Set up a system with your organization or group of friends to communicate quickly with each other in the event of a visitation, arrest, or subpoena.
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Portland General Defense Committee

Portland branch of the General Defense Committee of the IWW.

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