Most Portland riot suspects won’t be prosecuted, US attorney reveals

Most Portland riot suspects won't be prosecuted, US attorney reveals

David Bouchard admitted to having a customs and border guard put in a stranglehold. Charles Comfort was charged with civil disorder by a grand jury for bringing charges against officers from the Portland Police Bureau twice and punching them with a makeshift shield and then kicking a third officer while he was being arrested. Both men were charged with their actions over a summer of more than 100 consecutive nights of often violent protests in Portland. But Bouchard and Comfort are among the dozen of those federally arrested in Portland whose cases have been dismissed or who are put on hold without a day behind bars.

Between May 25 and October 7, the US Attorney’s Office in Oregon brought indictments against 97 people in connection with the Portland riots. Since then, 58 of these cases have either been immediately dismissed or are on the way to dismissal due to a deferred settlement agreement. Thirty-two cases are still pending, and many are likely to end in dismissals, according to sources. Seven people are guilty.


Of those who plead guilty, only one person is sent to prison and he has been caught in the act. The security video shows Edward Schinzing setting fire to the justice center with his shirt off and his name tattooed on his back. In a plea, Schinzing is asked to serve the mandatory minimum sentence of five years for arson.

“It is offensive to all men and women who risked their lives in Portland for 90 to 120 days, or in some cases longer, and were attacked night after night,” said Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security under President Trump.

Former federal attorney Alex Little said the US attorney general in Oregon was most likely overwhelmed.

“The prosecutors in this office, the number of prosecutors who even support the judicial system, aren’t really set up to deal with numbers like that,” Little said.

Lisa Hay, the federal defender in Oregon, sees the high number of rejected cases a little differently.

“I think the federal government has gone overboard in a way to address these protests,” said Hay. “And what we are seeing now is many of the cases filed because of the overreach of the federal government are now being dismissed.”


Of the 31 Deferred Resolution Agreements (DRA) signed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, 19 related to criminal charges, and most related to alleged attacks on federal officials sent there to protect the courthouse and other attacked federal buildings overnight.

Some DRAs have been signed by Billy Williams, the US attorney in Oregon appointed by President Trump. Others were signed by Scott Asphaug, who has been the acting U.S. attorney in Oregon since President Biden fired Williams and others Trump-appointed people.

Neither Williams nor Asphaug would comment on this report. Kevin Sonoff, public affairs officer with the US Attorney’s Office in Oregon, made a statement, in part: “Layoffs are very case-specific and are based on our assessment of the evidence available. If we don’t believe we can bring charges beyond a We will dismiss the case with justified doubts. ”

Wolf said Williams didn’t want to file many of the criminal complaints at all. He said Williams pushed back pressure from the White House and Attorney General Bill Barr, arguing that protesting in Portland is normal and filing federal charges will only inflame the situation.

Wolf said his push for a tougher response has been confirmed. The DHS eventually pulled most of the federal officials out of Portland, leaving the local police and prosecutors responsible for restoring the peace. But lasting calm has not returned to the city of roses. Even with a new President in the White House, the riots and property destruction have continued.


According to Wolf, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is finally beginning to understand that leaders cannot appease violent criminals.

“Recently there were a number of statements from Mayor Wheeler, in which it is about his city of violence and the anarchists to remove,” said Wolf, “and that’s exactly what I told him in July.”