Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reconsiders charges for crimes committed during ongoing demonstrations

Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reconsiders charges for crimes committed during ongoing demonstrations

Since arriving last summer, Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt has dismissed hundreds of charges against individuals for low-level crimes committed during ongoing demonstrations.

Amid renewed protests and property destruction this week, his office appears to be considering re-introducing some of these charges – if the person was recently arrested on a more serious crime.

Acting Portland Police Chief Chris Davis said police met with prosecutors Thursday who told police they wanted to bring charges against people who have since been set on fire for major crimes such as breaking windows and fires.

“They told me they would reissue these previously dismissed charges if necessary,” Davis said, noting that the cases were still within the statute of limitations and could be brought back.

In a statement, Multnomah District Attorney’s communications director Brent Weisberg said this was standard.

“If a case involves unusual and / or aggravating circumstances such as multiple arrests, we can take a second look at previous cases. This is not a new practice for the prosecutor. “

The statement by the acting chief came during a press conference from Mayor Ted Wheeler at which he once again angered the late-night protesters, saying the police were doing everything in their power to keep them off the streets. He announced no new efforts, but recommended that Portlanders secure their trash cans and try to record license plates of protesters engaging in illegal activities so that they can be made available to police.

“Our job is to expose, arrest and prosecute them,” he said.

Preparing for further protests and the potential for more destruction, Wheeler also announced that he would extend the city’s state of emergency for three more nights. The declaration now expires on Monday at 12 noon.

Wheeler declared a state of emergency for the first time on Tuesday, minutes before the verdict on the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd last summer, which sparked months of protest against police violence across the country.

The city has seen some downtown protests and damage in the nights following the ruling, albeit to a much lesser extent than last summer. The mayor has since extended the statement twice.

“An emergency statement will allow the police office to facilitate the demonstration effectively by allowing the office to procure food, supplies or other resources in the event of an emergency, and will allow the office to exercise other flexibility that is only available under an emergency statement is “, it says in the declaration states.

The state of emergency grants the mayor temporary powers, including a curfew, and opens the door to Oregon State Police, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oregon National Guard to assist the Portland Police in demonstrations. The mayor said it also allowed him to barricade the streets, although the city police had not yet recommended it.