Oregon State Police withdrawing from Portland courthouse after city refuses to prosecute violent protesters

by Joel Abbott · Aug 14th, 2020 2:17 pm
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Last Updated Aug 15th, 2020 at 10:50 pm

Oregon State Police have removed 100 troopers protecting the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in downtown Portland in response to the city's refusal to pursue charges against hundreds of arrested protesters.

State police had been posted in the city for two weeks as part of a deal between the Department of Homeland Security and Gov. Kate Brown to replace federal agents with local law enforcement.

In a statement, spokesman Capt. Timothy Fox said "that two weeks ended today," adding that they are "in a county that's not going to prosecute this criminal behavior."

The move comes in response to an announcement by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt that his office will not prosecute demonstrators charged with criminal trespass, harassment, disorderly conduct, and other crimes if they are not accompanied by "deliberate" property damage, theft, or bodily harm.

"This policy acknowledges that centuries of disparate treatment of black and brown people have left people with deep wounds," Schmidt said.

More than 550 people, mostly white, have been arrested in Portland during nearly 80 days of non-stop protests, including 140 for felony crimes such as arson, riot, assault, and theft. The DA's office is only pursuing charges in 45 of these cases.

Police have regularly been assaulted during the protests, including attacks with explosives, as seen in the video below.

In an email to Schmit obtained by local news, Sheriff Mike Reese also criticized the decision to not prosecute.

"The situation on the street is incredibly volatile with a really committed group of Antifa/anarchists starting fires, damaging property, and assaulting police/community members," wrote Reese. "They may feel even more emboldened if there is a public statement that appears to minimize their activities."

Fox said state troopers would be sent back to their regular assignments and to areas where police presence is limited.

"The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority," Fox said. "Last night was our last night in Portland."


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