Federal Power Grab Update

U.S. Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams is impacting First Amendment rights and making a sham of local elections at the district attorney level. For more info, see the letter we faxed to his office (he has no public email!) on Monday. The letter we sent also included the names of the people who also signed the petition of the same text.

The team working on this issue has identified the House Judiciary Committee and U.S. Inspector General Michael Horowitz as having the authority to hold U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams accountable. We just learned yesterday that the House Judiciary Committee is very interested in the petition. We have submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Inspector General requesting that they investigate.

These are the cover letters, slight variations of each other, that we’re sending to both of these:

Letter to U.S. Inspector General Michael Horowitz

Dear U.S. Inspector General Michael Horowitz,

We write to you today on behalf of Pacific Northwest Family Circle, a group of families whose loved ones were killed by police. We work peacefully together to change laws and policies around policing in Oregon and Washington.

A few weeks ago, we learned of the prosecution of Edward Schinzing, a suspected arsonist whose crime was on a county building but whose charge is federal. We launched a petition (see organizational endorsements and individuals and also copied below) to condemn this federal power grab by U.S. Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams. Since then:

We know your office is already investigating the death of Michael Reinoehl. We are writing today to ask you to also investigate U.S. Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams for:

  • Prosecuting protesters with misdemeanors (e.g. “disorderly conduct”) as federal cases
  • Failing to prosecute the many instances of police violence in Oregon

Our concern with these cases is federal overreach of power that impacts the power of local elections at the district attorney scale and an infringement on First Amendment Rights. The letter we wrote to U.S. Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams below gives more information about why we think this is so.

Many PNWFC Family Members have been struggling for justice for years, some decades. They are experts in the part of the legal system that relates to police, which is vastly different from the legal system for everyone else. They are also repeatedly harassed as police try to intimidate them.

As you investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding the killing of Michael Reinoehl, PNWFC Family Members, who are people most harmed by the policing system and perhaps the most informed about it, want to assist with your investigation. In addition to asking you to investigate police violence in Portland perpetrated by federal and federally deputized police, we respectfully invite you to meet with us in person.

We look forward to a response from your office within one week, as our local elections and First Amendment Rights are being quickly eroded. For your information, we have also asked the House Judiciary Committee to investigate this.

Sincerely,

Mary Barbee
Family Member, Pacific Northwest Family Circle

Maria Cahill
Supporter, Pacific Northwest Family Circle

Letter to
Chairman Nadler, House Judiciary Committee

October 1, 2020

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Judiciary Committee
c/o Arya Hariharan
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Nadler,

I write to you today on behalf of Pacific Northwest Family Circle, a group of families whose loved ones were killed by police. We work peacefully together to change laws and policies around policing in Oregon and Washington.

We are writing today to ask you to also hold US Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams accountable for:

  • Prosecuting protesters with misdemeanors (e.g. “disorderly conduct”) as federal cases
  • Failing to prosecute the many instances of police violence in Oregon

A few weeks ago, we learned of the prosecution of Edward Schinzing, a suspected arsonist whose crime was on a county building but whose charge is federal. We launched a petition (see organizational endorsements and individuals and also copied below) to condemn this federal power grab by U.S. Attorney of Oregon Billy J. Williams. Since then:

Our concern with these cases is federal overreach of power that impacts the power of local elections at the district attorney scale and an infringement on First Amendment Rights. The letter we sent to U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams below gives more information about why we think this is so.

We look forward to a response from your office within one week, as our local elections and First Amendment Rights are being quickly eroded. For your information, we have also asked the U.S. Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate this.

Sincerely,

Mary Barbee
Family Member, Pacific Northwest Family Circle

Maria Cahill
Supporter, Pacific Northwest Family Circle

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