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Nearly 70% of charges against Portland rioters were dropped by progressive DA

Of the nearly 1,000 protest and riot-related arrests made in Portland since late May, prosecutors have dropped almost 70% of the charges, according to The Oregonian.

On Wednesday, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office released a new statistical dashboard that provides data on “protest-related cases referred to his office by law enforcement for prosecutorial review and potential issuing.”

“This is a major step forward for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office,” the statement from progressive District Attorney Mike Schmidt read. “Transparency in the work we do is a keystone to my administration. Moving this data online for the community to easily use will have a significant impact on understanding cases that arise from mass demonstrations. I promised during my campaign that I take a smarter approach to justice. That work continues with the launch of this dashboard. I am committed to launching future dashboards and other public facing programs that will support data-driven and transparent decision making.”

Between May 29 and Oct. 5, there were 974 cases referred to the Multnomah DA’s office by the Portland Police Department for prosecution, 666 were rejected, meaning 68% of all referred cases had the charges dropped by the Multnomah County DA. The dashboard states that 543 cases have been “rejected in the interest of justice.”

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There were 902 public order crime charges, 166 person crime charges, and 125 property crime charges. There were 95 felony charges.

Court records show 18 people have been arrested three or more times during protests in Portland since May, The Oregonian reported.

This development is not shocking since Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt declared in August that his office would decline to press charges against protesters and rioters participating in Portland demonstrations.

“If we leverage the full force of the criminal justice system on individuals who are peacefully protesting and demanding to be heard, we will cause irreparable harm to them individually and to our society,” Schmidt said. “The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will presumptively decline to prosecute a case where the most serious offense is a city ordinance violation or where the crime(s) do not involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against another person.”

Schmidt said that his office would not prosecute for the following crimes:

  • Interfering with a peace officer or parole and probation officer
  • Disorderly conduct in the second degree
  • Criminal trespass in the first and second degree
  • Escape in the third degree
  • Harassment
  • Riot (unless accompanied by a charge outside of this list)

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner reacted to Schmidt’s pledge by saying, “I am disgusted that our city has come to this.”

In September, the U.S. Marshals Service deputized 56 Portland police officers and 22 Multnomah County sheriff’s deputies to respond to potential violence under the orders of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) after she declared a state of emergency. The federally deputized officers are effectively circumventing the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, who aren’t prosecuting rioters.

The deputizations remain in effect through December. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said he didn’t know that the officers would remain federal deputies until 2021.

Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) argued that the deputizations last “beyond the governor’s stated emergency.”

In the race for Portland mayor, Wheeler is currently polling significantly behind Sarah Iannarone, who is a supporter of Antifa, in the race for Portland mayor.

Last month, the Department of Justice designated Portland, Seattle, and New York City as “anarchist jurisdictions,” a label that could lead to federal funding being withdrawn from those cities.

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