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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon DOJ Civil Rights Lawyer Sues Oregon DOJ

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Oregon Department of Justice
Erious Johnson is the Director of Civil Rights for the Office of the Attorney General.

The top civil rights lawyer at the Oregon Department of Justice is suing his employer. Erious Johnson alleged in a lawsuit filed in federal court that the agency violated his civil rights.

This lawsuit comes about a year after the Oregon Department of Justice admitted that some of its investigators were targeting people who posted on social media using the "Black Lives Matter" hashtag.

One of those people targeted worked just down the hall. Erious Johnson is Director of Civil Rights at the agency. He had posted on Twitter about the Black Lives Matter movement, in some cases using lyrics by the hip-hop group Public Enemy. Investigators interpreted those posts as potential threats to law enforcement.

The lawsuit says Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and other agency staff harmed Johnson's reputation and violated his "right to speak about matters of public concern."

A spokeswoman for Rosenblum said the investigator who targeted Johnson has been fired and that Johnson is "a valued member of her inner circle staff."