Portland Unveils New Policy That Prohibits Charging Protesters With Non-Violent Crimes

Portland, Oregon’s District Attorney Mike Schmidt says his office will not prosecute protesters who have been charged with low-level offenses.

In a statement detailing the new policy released on Tuesday, Schmidt noted the protests that have been ongoing since the death of George Floyd on May 25.

The statement reads, “The demands for change go beyond a call for an end to police violence and encompass the need for us all to acknowledge and address centuries of racism and oppression.”

“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates the demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting,” he added. “We recognize that we will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we leverage the force of our criminal justice system against peaceful protestors who are demanding to be heard.”

Schmidt argued that prosecutors not only need to “advance the safety of our community,” but also “promote economic and housing stability, educational opportunities, strong family and community relationships, and the mental and physical health of all those who live in our county.”

He continued:

“Seen through that lens, the prosecution of cases relating solely to protest activities, most of which have a weak nexus to further criminality and which are unlikely to be deterred by prosecution, draws away from crucially needed resources. As stewards of public resources, we must devote our efforts to prosecuting crimes that allow us to protect our most vulnerable victims to have the greatest impact on promoting a safer community for everyone in Multnomah county.”

Schmidt added that his office would “presumptively decline to charge cases where the most serious offenses are city ordinance violations and crimes that do not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against a person.”

He outlined those charges: Interference With a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Trespass, Escape III, Harassment, or Riot.

Additionally, Schmidt said that charges of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer should be “subjected to a high level of scrutiny.”

Schmidt said officials should consider whether the officer had probable cause for the arrest, if the defendant was “recently subjected to tear gas or other less lethal force,” or if they were “otherwise in pain, or unable to hear, breath or see at the moment” the arrest or alleged assault occurred.

Additionally, he said officials should consider if “the act of resistance” was “unreasonably severe.”

And for charges of assaulting a police officer, officials should determine if there is “adequate documentation of the specific cause of the injury and the severity of the injury.”

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said his department will continue to arrest those who violate the law, “Committing a crime is different from demonstrating.”

“The arrests we make often come after hours of damage to private property, disruption of public transit and traffic on public streets, thefts from small businesses, arson, burglary, attacks on members of the community, and attacks against police officers,” he added.

Responses

  1. Obsidian,

    I’d like to give you a list, but I build my own using my engineering/physics background. Trust that they are much more powerful and damaging (also quasi-legal) than anything the children rioting can come up with.

    I’m working on lenses for wide-area broadcast for dealing with crowds along with other anti-personnel measures. Did you know that H2O2, bleach, and a few additives will EAT eyeballs (also skin)? F teargas. You can even make things with common pool chlorination chemicals.

    But I still prefer setting people on fire. It’s so disorienting for them. If they want to scream and set things on fire let them do so. Especially the screaming.

  2. I have a great idea. Let’s all gather together, go to Portland, stock up on TV’s, booze and anything else we may want from inside a store and paaaarrrrty!!! Don’t forget to bring some kind of sign for the news outlets and to justify your actions. How about, “Don’t murder and eat chickens, they’re cute” or “Free drugs for all”. That should do it.

  3. So…non-violent like intimidating two elderly women, pouring paint over one, and threatening another (who was using a walker) are not prosecutable?

    Good to know Mr. “Prosecutor” that you are promoting civility, law, and order.

    1. …and people wonder why I go multiply armed on the few occasions I have to go into Portland.

      FYI assholes, I have really powerful lasers too. And they work on wide-beam enough to burn the eyeballs out of your head. (You pinheads would be amazed what someone who worked in fiber-optics has access to. No you can’t order these on Amazon.) Also edged and impact weapons, pepper-spray and bullets. Lots of them. You bring the non-violent and I’ll bring the violent.

      1. full disclosure: Molotovs are primitive and unreliable.

        I prefer a high-pressure sprayer with industrial alcohol which still burns.

          1. These rioters are primitive, uneducated assh*les. Intersectional Coffee Swirling does not speak of either technical or scientific ability.

            Let them try the suburbs.

  4. Right…. So, ya-gotta ask…what is a “nonviolent crime” in these radical’s eyes? Anything short of premeditated murder. If you “accidently” kill a cop by hitting him in the head with a brick…that is NOT considered a “violent crime.” It was just an accident. No harm, no foul. Get back out there and riot some more…ya-think…?!?!?

  5. Pssst. All you protesters/rioters in Portland, I hear there are parties at the mayor and governor’s houses. Free looting and bonfires!

  6. Did anyone notice that there’s no distancing? No wonder the covid cases are increasing. No wonder we now have three strains. Of course, Democrats blame the President.

  7. Try that in my neighborhood. The police don’t need to be called. Don’t need no district attorney.

  8. “He outlined those charges: Interference With a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Trespass, Escape III, Harassment, or Riot.

    Additionally, Schmidt said that charges of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer should be “subjected to a high level of scrutiny.”

    This dolt is allowing criminal activity to go unpunished. That’s what the Movement for Black Lives wants – no more law enforcement. It’s all outlined in the Breathe Act. No action on trespass, harassment, riot? Why do they have these laws if they’re not going to be enforced. Police should walk off the job en mass.

  9. Let them burn down the town. Anyone with a brain will leave. Anyone with a brain would never buy there.

    That clown going to pay to repair and rebuild all those businesses? Want to bet they will whine to have the Feds pay.

  10. Non violent crimes? So, rioting, burning buildings, injuring people, defacing private property, carrying on at the wee hours of the morning are NOT crimes? Glad I don’t live in that state and especially in that city and I definitely will never travel there! Such a shameful government in Oregon.

  11. Ridiculous. A crime is a crime. Whether it is violent or not is immaterial because there is usually a an innocent party who is injured by that crime.I would definitely demand to see a list of these crimes which are no longer punishable. If you’re not going to punish someone for the crime, then go through the process of taking that/those crimes off the books. But as long as they are crimes, they need to be prosecuted. They are just telling criminals “Here are the crimes that we’ll allow you to commit without consequence.” Totally asinine.

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