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Mead eye injury photo 2
Mead eye injury photo 2
Lawsuit Filed for BLM Protester Shot in the Eye by Feds in 2020 - 05/03/21

News Release / May 3, 2021

Lawsuit Filed for BLM Protester Shot in the Eye by the Feds in 2020

Portland, Oregon— A new civil case was filed in the US District Court of Oregon today, to seek answers and accountability for Fourth Amendment and Excessive Force violations by unidentified Federal officers deployed to Portland in the summer of 2020. The Portland Lawyers for Black Lives Matter are seeking justice for Angeline (Angie) Mead, a BLM supporter who was shot in her eye by a high-velocity projectile at close-range on July 26, 2020, causing serious injury and permanent scarring. 

Mead was with a small group of non-violent protesters who were dispersing after observing Federal officers firing tear gas at retreating protesters.  While walking westbound, away from the gathering, Mead turned her head back to check on the group of agents rushing up behind her.  Without cause or warning, she was shot in her right eye by one of the officers, on or next to the large truck that was pursuing her group, from about 20 feet away. Standing 5’5” and 135 pounds, Mead was posing no threat to property or officers while retreating.  The park blocks near the Hatfield Courthouse had already been cleared by the agents in a variety of military uniforms.

Terrified, Mead immediately lost all vision in her right eye and thought she lost her eye entirely. Aware of the combat tactics used by Federal officers from reports on previous protests, Mead was wearing swim goggles that a volunteer removed to tend to her eye. It was then that she felt blood running down her face as friends called out for a medic. When a medic finally arrived to quickly examine her injuries, he asked if her eyes were “different colors” which increased Mead’s fear she might be permanently blinded.  

A volunteer driver immediately transported Mead to the emergency room at Oregon Health Science University Hospital (OHSU).  She received a CT scan of her eye sockets and several stitches to close the open wound above her eye.  She was told to return for further examination.  At the Casey Eye Institute, Mead was diagnosed with a retinal tear, vitreous hemorrhage and traumatic iritus.  She required laser retinopexy surgery to repair a round hole in her right retina.

"There is no lawful purpose in aiming a high-velocity so-called ‘less lethal’ projectile at the head or face of a person posing no threat of violence,” explained attorney Gabriel Chase, “This case is part of the larger picture of the federal government’s deliberate pattern of using force with the purpose to maim and punish – and thereby ‘quell’ protests. A deliberate pattern and practice of cruelty.”

Mead, a 2020 graduate of Whitman College with a degree in both music and computer science, felt compelled to support the BLM movement after Washington musician Dustyn Hunt-Bagby was murdered in February 2019. She joined the family in protest to demand justice for his slaying and that experience impacted her desire to stand up for systemic change in policing.  Beyond her physical scarring, the emotional scars run deeper.  She now feels a sense of guilt for being fearful of non-violent expression after the brutality she encountered.

“I’ve been beating myself up about it,” said Mead, “But it’s not really about me and the ideal outcome would be more awareness of the systemic violence built into the institution that allowed these officers to cause harm with no accountability.  That has to stop.”

Mead’s case is a part of a series of cases being filed by a group of dedicated trial lawyers, banding together to meet the challenge of holding the Trump administration accountable for violations of Constitutional rights and injuries inflicted upon individuals peacefully exercising their freedom of assembly and expression.

“Angie was clearly targeted with the intent of inflicting serious bodily harm,” said attorney Christopher Larsen. “We have to hold these agents accountable for intentionally using weapons and force prohibited in their training against non-threatening civilians. We’re in it for the long-haul and we won’t give up.”

The Portland Lawyers for Black Lives Matter: Michelle Burrows, Gabriel Chase, Nadia Dahab, Erious Johnson, Jr., Christopher Larsen, Jane Moisan, David Park, Joe Piucci, and David Sugerman.

  

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