Of 58 suspects out of 97 arrested in Portland, Oregon, cases are dropped, while 32 suspects are still pending
Nearly 100 people facing federal charges and arrested during last summer’s protests in Portland, Oregon, will not be prosecuted and will not spend any time behind bars.
Although 97 people have been arrested and charged against them in connection with protests that took place between May and October last year, 58 cases have been dismissed entirely or are on track.
A further 32 cases are pending and many are likely to be dismissed as well. Only seven people have pleaded guilty to just one of those going to jail and caught red-handed setting the city’s Justice Center on fire.
Charges have been dropped against 58 of the 97 people arrested last year during the unrest that lasted more than 100 days between May and October.
Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon last year
Edward Schinzing, 33, had his name tattooed on his back while videotaping him burning down the Justice Center building. The facility houses the Multnomah County Jail and the Portland Police Headquarters
Authorities were able to identify him by comparing his booking photo (left) and photos of the scene (right) showing a signature tattoo of his last name on his upper back
The man had his shirt off and helpful, because the police, Edward Schinzing, had his name tattooed on his back while he videotaped him burning the building.
The decision not to prosecute federally is in line with last year’s decision by the newly elected Portland prosecutor, who under a new policy determined that his office would not prosecute people who have been arrested since late May on the basis of non-prosecution. violent accusations.
The policy recognizes the outrage and frustration over a history of racial injustice that has led to more than 100 nights of protracted, often violent, protests in Portland, as well as the more practical realities of the justice system, which is more than several months behind schedule. cases due to COVID-19.
The protesters are angry … and deeply frustrated with what they see as structural inequalities in our basic social fabric. And this frustration can escalate to unlawful levels, ‘said Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.
Edward Thomas Schinzing, 33, was among a group of protesters who broke into the Justice Center on May 29, 2020 (pictured) before destroying the space and setting fires
People gather to protest in front of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland in July 2020
Last summer, there were more than 100 nights of riots during which protesters were gassed and shot with rubber bullets by the city’s police.
“This policy recognizes that centuries of disparate treatment of our black and brown communities have left deep wounds and that the healing process will not be easy or quick.”
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said people who commit violent acts or deliberately damage property will still be held accountable.
“Committing a crime is different from demonstrating,” Lovell said in a statement. “The arrests we make often come after hours of damage to private property, disruption to public transportation and traffic in public streets, thefts from small businesses, arson, burglary, attacks on community members and attacks on police officers.”
A protester overturns federal police on top of federal courthouse barricade Mark O. Hatfield, pictured last July.
Portland was the epicenter of protests in 2020 with at least 200 nights of demonstrations, 30 nights of riots and about 1,000 arrests. (File photo of July)
Protesters take on federal police amid tear gas outside federal courthouse Mark O. Hatfield (photo from July)
Chad Wolf, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security under President Trump, was not happy to learn that nearly all charges had to dismiss them.
“It is insulting to all men and women who have risked their lives in Portland for 90 to 120 days or in some cases even longer because they are being attacked night after night,” he said. Fox news.
“The prosecutors in the sense that the US attorney, the number of prosecutors, that support, even the courthouse system, are not really set up to handle those kinds of numbers,” said former federal prosecutor Alex Little.
Lisa Hay, the federal public defender in Oregon, has a slightly different view of the large number of cases being dismissed.
“I think the federal government has gone overboard in some of the ways they have addressed these protests,” said Lisa Hay, a federal public defender in Oregon. “What we see now is that many of the cases brought because of the wide reach of the federal government are now being dismissed.”
Portland endured more than 100 nights of riots during last summer’s protest over racial inequality and police brutality
Last summer’s protests dominated news in Portland for months after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis held a knee to the neck for nearly nine minutes.
Protesters were angry after Portland police repeatedly used tear gas in the early days of the protests.
Demonstrations have sometimes attracted as many as 10,000 people to peaceful marches and rallies in the city. But some protesters have turned to violence increasingly targeting the courthouse and other federal properties with 27 riots declared in the space of four months.
Some protesters threw rocks, stones and other projectiles at officers, with police responding by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
At the time, the Trump administration sent federal agents to quell the unrest, but the stakes had the opposite effect, stimulating protesters who found a new rallying point in their opposition to the federal presence.
Protester waves US flag in front of federal agents after tear gas was deployed during riot in Portland in July
Many of the federal tactical teams were wearing combat gear, but their deployment sparked an inflammatory response, especially after footage of protesters being grabbed from the street by federal agents and stopped in unmarked cars.
Mayor Ted Wheeler recently condemned what he described as a segment of violent agitators who undermine the message of police accountability and should receive tougher sentences.
Inflamed by the arrival of federal officers and right-wing militias, including the so-called Proud Boys, the protests turned deadly.