The Multnomah County District Attorney announced that criminal rioters and anyone who has been charged with assaulting “peace officers” won’t be prosecuted, essentially giving these militants a free pass to break the law.
Mike Schmidt announced on Tuesday that his office will not prosecute the people who’ve been arrested over the past two months during ‘demonstrations.’
Schmidt said his office will presumptively decline to prosecute those whose most serious accusation doesn’t involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against someone else.
Charges that fall under that category include interfering with a peace officer, second-degree disorderly conduct and rioting, among others.
Those whose most serious accusation involves a city ordinance violation will also not be prosecuted.
“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting,” Schmidt, who recently took office, said in a statement. “We will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we do not take action to bring about immediate change.”
Prosecutors will scrutinize the cases of protesters accused of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer and consider “the chaos of a protesting environment, especially after tear gas or other less-lethal munitions have been deployed against community members en masse,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release.
Protesters accused of crimes that caused only financial harm will be offered conditional dismissal after paying restitution or making other amends.
And allegations of intentional physical violence against civilians and law enforcement officers — such as assault and arson accusations — will be handled according to the district attorney’s office’s normal policies.
“The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is neither condoning nor endorsing the conduct that led to the arrest or citation of a person,” the office said. “A prosecution decline decision does not change Oregon law.”
[However, this statement does NOT change the fact that by its actions, the DA’s office IS condoning violence and lawlessness.]
The new protest policy was unveiled as protests against police violence and anti-Black racism are set to continue for their 76th day Tuesday. Hundreds of people have been arrested during the demonstrations.
The policy announcement also came the day after the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute activist Demetria Hester, who spent Sunday night in police custody after being arrested during a protest in North Portland.
Hester, a regular presence at protests and a leader of the Moms United for Black Lives group, was one of 16 arrested in a Sunday demonstration outside the Portland Police Association building.
[They were declared riots after hours of violence and destruction.]