Most charges will not be prosecuted against Portland BLM activists, says brand new Multnomah County DA
For 76 or so nights, as we and our peer live streamers have dedicatedly been capturing and live broadcasting on film, garnering international attention from media, UN, Amnesty, as well as ACLU class action lawsuits and even a screening in Congress, Portland Police Bureau has been deliberately antagonizing people peacefully exercising First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of assembly. They have been beating people with bodies and clubs, kettling (trapping) people, framing people (such as breaking their own window and blaming demonstrators, as an excuse to declare a riot and act violently). They have been firing tear gas into crowds indiscriminantly -- and they have been firing tear gas canisters with sniper-like precision at those they target, to cause grievous wounds. They have been targeting media, medics, legal observers with arrest, including in defiance of restraining orders. They have been firing impact weapons, including baton rounds ("rubber bullets"), bean bag rounds, pepper bullets, both indiscriminantly and very clearly targeting media, medics, and specific activists, including near-range shots to heads, necks, and genitalia. And they have been aribtrarily declairing "unlawful assembly" and "riot" to be able to mass arrest, target-arrest, nuisance-arrest, and coming up with a plethora of bogus and exaggerated charges.
And the new DA of Multnomah County ain't havin' it.
Elected by 76% of voters, due to swear in 1/1/21 but appointed early by Governor Kate Brown, new Multnomah County District Attorney, Mike Schmidt, revealed today that he simply will not bother to give any credence to most of the charges wrought by PPB.
His presentations definitely make him sound like he is an ally.
Will he also prosecute violent cops? A very valid and crucial question. That remains to be seen. He literally just took office.
But he comes charging out of the gate with this, and this editorial author is personally grateful and impressed.
This is the opening salvo of his pre-emptive strike against PPB false charges.
Members of our community have taken to the streets every night since the murder of George Floyd to express their collective grief, anger, and frustration over not just thatsenseless act of violence, but the countless other abuses People of Color have endured in our country throughout history. The demands for change go beyond calling for an end to police violence and encompass the need for all of us to acknowledge and addresscenturies of racism and oppression that are manifested in mass incarceration, economicinequality, educational disadvantages, and disparities in health care that have allowedCOVID-19 to ravage our communities of color.As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates thesedemonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting.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.
The DA then outlines what allegations and charges by PPB of demonstrators he will selectively opt to categorically refrain from prosecuting.
Presumption of dismissal/declination:We will presumptively decline to charge cases where the most serious offenses are cityordinance violations and crimes that do not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person. Crimes in this category include:
● Interference with a police officer, ORS 162.247
● Disorderly conduct, ORS 166.025
● Criminal trespass, ORS 164.245 and 164.255
● Escape III, ORS 162.145
● Harassment, when classified as a Class B misdemeanor, ORS 166.065
● Riot, ORS 166.015 – Unless accompanied by a charge outside of this list
He further shows he is an ally by refusing to just point-blank accept cops' allegations of protesters' "resisting arrest":
Consideration should be given to the chaos of a protesting environment, especially after tear gas or other less-lethal munitions have been deployed against protestors en masse. Issuing deputies will consider the following (non-exclusive) list of factors prior to issuing a protest related resist arrest charge:
● Did law enforcement have probable cause for the arrest for a crime beyond thoselisted in Sec II (1) of this policy?
● Had the defendant been recently subjected to tear gas or other less lethal force?Were they otherwise in pain, or unable to hear, breathe or see at the moment the resistance occurred?
● Was the character of the resistance unreasonably severe?
● Did the act of resistance result in injury to the officer?
● What level of force was applied by the officer, and did they make any reasonable available attempt to de-escalate before making the arrest?
● Has all available video evidence been received and reviewed?
He is even extending such contextual review to allegations of assault on officers!
He is offering restorative justice and repayment within 3 months for conditional dismissal of nonviolent property claims.
Now let's see if we can challenge Eugene PD, Springfield PD, Coos Bay PD, and beyond, to drop charges in similar ways!
Here is the link, for those who would like to forward it to their local police commissions or comparable uses: