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Judge Dismisses Rioter’s Lawsuit Against U.S. Marshal Who Shot Him With ‘Less-Lethal’ Munition

Portland, OR – A federal judge has tossed out a Portland rioter’s lawsuit against a U.S. marshal who shot him in the face with a less-lethal round during a clash outside the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse more than two years ago.

The incident occurred in August of 2020 in the midst of months of nightly rioting that took place in downtown Portland that summer.

The mobs destroyed businesses, repeatedly set government buildings ablaze, blocked roadways, and ruthlessly attacked law enforcement officers during the months of violent uprisings.

Among the buildings that was repeatedly targeted by rioters was the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse, which was being protected by federal officers at the direction of the President of the United States, Courthouse News reported.

Videos showed 26-year-old Donovan LaBella hurling a canister of tear gas back towards the federal officers who had just launched them in the mob’s direction, according to the news outlet.

Shortly after he stood back up, he collapsed to the ground and was carried off by other rioters.

According to the federal lawsuit filed by LaBella’s conservator, an unidentified U.S. marshal had fired a “less-lethal” impact munition and struck him in the front of his head, Courthouse News reported.

The lawsuit alleged the round crushed the front of LaBella’s skull and that he “will forever suffer from a traumatic brain injury, among other serious and life-changing injuries.”

LaBella claimed the U.S. marshal violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment and accused the officer of battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Courthouse News reported.

The unidentified U.S. marshal, referred to as John Doe in the lawsuit, argued in a motion to dismiss that “Congress might be better equipped to create a damages remedy” in this case, namely due to the fact he used force to protect a federal building at the direction of a U.S. President, according to the news outlet.

Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman sided with the federal officer in a ruling issued on Feb. 14 and ultimately dismissed all claims against him.

LaBella’s lawsuit against the U.S. government will be allowed to proceed, Courthouse News reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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