Judge tosses charges against man federally charged with a Molotov cocktail: ‘They shouldn’t have searched him’

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JACKSONVILLE, FL – Another criminal has gotten a free pass from a judge.

On May 31st, protesters had gathered in Jacksonville, Florida after the in-custody death of George Floyd.  During the protests, police made contact with a man who was either walking or running away from them. 

A search of the man’s backpack revealed a Molotov cocktail for which he was arrested.  US Attorney’s requested the charges be dismissed which were granted by a federal judge.

Prosecutors in the case became concerned regarding the initial contact with the suspect and police. 

According to video surveillance, the suspect was walking on a sidewalk and not in violation of any law or ordinance when police made contact. 

Although there is no reason cited, whether it was probable cause or consent to search, officers searched the man’s backpack and located the Molotov cocktail and placed him under arrest. 

The man told the police that he was handed the weapon from someone in the crowd and it was not his.

Without knowing why the officers searched the backpack, one can assume, based on the dismissal of charges, that officers lacked probable cause to search the backpack and most likely did not have consent. 

If that is the case, case law refers to these cases as fruit of the poisonous tree. 

In other words, if a police officer comes across some type of evidence of a crime, but it was not legally obtained, the entire case is tainted and must be thrown out.  Therefore, if the Molotov cocktail was illegally found, it can not be admitted into evidence in court.

The man, Ivan Zecher, was stopped on May 31st at a protest in the area near Market and Forsyth Streets.  According to police reports, Zecher was stopped because he was standing in the street, thus committing a pedestrian violation. 

However, surveillance video found in the area, according to Zecher’s attorney, Mark Barnet, showed that the suspect was not committing any pedestrian violations.  Barnet claimed video showed that he was either walking away or running from police while on a sidewalk.

Barnet’s claim that Zecher was on a sidewalk and not committing any crimes would prevent police from lawfully ordering him to stop.  Thus, any search of his person and any evidence found would have to be suppressed.

There could be one of several explanations as to the differing accounts from police and video surveillance.  One, the obvious, officers lied and never observed Zecher commit an infraction, thus illegally stopping him and finding the weapon.

Two, officers were confused, which would be easy as the scene was chaotic, and thought Zecher was another person they were trying to stop that had committed an infraction when in fact he was not. 

If in fact police could prove that the contact was accidental and they still found evidence, it may be admissible in court if they could show how the mistake happened and if the judge were to agree that it was reasonable.

Three, officers did see Zecher commit an infraction, however, since that part was not captured on video, prosecutors did not feel they had proof beyond a reasonable doubt to proceed with the case, thus dropping the charges. 

If this, in fact the case, prosecutors would not say much other than the case was dropped because they did not feel they could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Whatever really happened, we may never know, but Barnett said that he and prosecutors had reviewed roughly 100 hours of video from the protests that day.  Apparently, US Attorney David Mesrobian did not like what he saw and requested the charges be dismissed, to which US Magistrate Monte Richardson approved.

Portland rioters throw molotov cocktail at police, lighting protestor on fire. Police then save his life.

PORTLAND, OR – One minute, they’re screaming at police and attacking them.  The next… the officers are saving them.  

The Portland protestors met at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Ventura Park in what marked the 100th consecutive day of riots.  The location is near the Portland Police East Precinct – which seems to be one of their favorite places to visit.

Police showed up, asking protestors to abide by basic safety guidelines and laws.

We’re told that within minutes, the crowd turned violent.  People started throwing Molotov cocktails and screaming “fuck the police”.

At that point, it was declared a riot.  The crowd continued to escalate the violence, throwing rocks at officers and continuing to toss explosive devices.

In response, the crowd set off fireworks.

Again, the Portland police once again told the crowd that the celebration was no longer a protest, but a riot. They told them to leave immediately, and to go east.

In an attempt to block officers from moving forward, the rioters launched a huge fire in the middle of the street.

Police could be heard ordering that people clear the area. They gave the rioters the list of appropriate reasons to clear the area. The police warned the rioters that they could be subject to arrest, citation or crowd control agents etc.

The rioters responded by firing more commercial mortars at the officers… who responded by firing off tear gas.

Reports indicated the scene looked like a war zone.

The police begin their march….

Then protestors decided that they would try to throw a Molotov cocktail at the line of police cars and officers, in hopes that they could turn an officer into an effigy.  But alas, they lit one of their own on fire.

The glass broke and the crowd let out a gasp as a figure turned to face the blaze.

Then to the horror of the crowd, a person ran with their pants on fire.

The figure moved quickly escape the fire, but it only grew larger and larger as if he walked on the flames. He ran towards the crowd.

A person in the crowd can be heard saying:

“F***ing idot.”

The man caught on fire did not think to, or rather chose to ignore the establishment’s saying of “Stop, drop, and roll.”

He fell, and some of his fellow rioters jumped on him to try to help their burning comrade. He fought them. Today, he learned a powerful lesson. Fire hurts, and rubber makes fire burn more. One of his comrades can be heard saying:

“Take your shoes off!”

But then the police come to the rescue, being the villians that they are, and one says oh so calmly:

“Smother it.”

And the burned rioter learned another lesson that day. Fire goes out when it is smothered, not by running.

From another angle we can see the fire burning close to the people. A man emerges from the flames like in those really epically bad super hero movies. He dances around trying to escape the flames. One person in the crowd says:

“Holy sh*t.”

Another person commands:

“Get down! Get down!”

The man on fire falls to the ground and rolls as two people try to help him beat out the fire. Others try to help beat the flame out of him. Someone says:

“Stop, drop and roll…shit!”

Well at least someone learned something in school.

The voices repeat the same as above. Smother it. Take your shoes off. But then a voice emerges:

“There he is!”

The rioters showed their appreciation of the police the only way they knew how.

They threw more firecrackers at them, hurled insults at them, and what can only be viewed as a thank you fire, as these rioters are simple minded human beings.

We can only guess at their emerging language of violence.

More firebombs were thrown at the officers.

They decided to fill the air with smoke and to set cars on fire. Car alarms go off, and a white light being held by a protestor can be seen as they walk toward the smoke. The police repeat themselves. The police keep their line and continue to march behind the protestors.

 It’s not over yet. Police decide to make their move and sprint in to make arrests. Police run unafraid of some lady screaming:

“F*** you!”

Apparently, these people do not know any other words except vulgarities. This makes it hard for the police to communicate with them, as the vulgarities can mean many different things.

The police start pouncing on the disrupters. They have many protestors on the ground, and being placed under arrest.

The protestors seemed to split, and then join together a couple of times. They seem like pack animals.

Below, it can observed that the Anti-Fa and Black Lives Matter cannot comprehend why they are behind arrested. There are many questions being asked like:

“What did I do?”

“Why are you arresting me?”

A crowd remains in the street.

Police say they’ll spend the better part of Sunday trying to recover from the attacks.

Man arrested 4 times in Portland riots. The city released him three times. Now the feds are stepping in.

PORTLAND, OR – A man from Washington state was arrested four times within a four week period for rioting in Portland, which in three of those instances this man was bailed out or released. Now the federal government has stepped in, and has charged the man following a fourth arrest.

The Department of Justice recently charged 26-year-old Kristopher Michael Donnelly civil disorder, which according to federal law could see Donnelly in prison for five years.

Donnelly’s first documented arrest during the Portland riots occurred on August 5th, where authorities say that Donnelly was caught on film using a hammer to smash the windows of the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct.

The DOJ also noted that Donnelly was among those throwing objects at police and even assaulted an officer when police were trying to arrest him that evening.

Donnelly was booked into jail for charges of rioting, criminal mischief, second-degree disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest. His bail was set at $5,000 at the time, which was paid, and he was subsequently released.

But it didn’t take long for Donnelly to be out allegedly rioting again, as he was arrested again on August 8th. The Portland Police had declared a riot on the evening of the 8th outside of the Penumbra Kelly Building, which authorities say Donnelly was part and parcel to said riot.

Judge tosses charges against man federally charged with a Molotov cocktail: 'They shouldn't have searched him'
Kristopher Michael Donnelly Aug 8 arrest – MCDC

After getting charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and rioting – the judge ordered Donnelly released without bail.

Moving on to the evening of August 22nd and the early morning hours of the 23rd, there was yet another riot in Portland.

Police officers and even a medic were under attack from rioters, where baseball sized rocks  and bottles were hurled and fires were set. Once again – Donnelly was arrested for rioting, interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest.

Judge tosses charges against man federally charged with a Molotov cocktail: 'They shouldn't have searched him'
Kristopher Michael Donnelly Aug 23 arrest – MCDC

And he bailed out again according to records.

Then on August 30th, there was an unlawful assembly declared when officers were met with the likes of rocks and even eggs thrown at them.

Like clockwork, Donnelly was said to have been there and was arrested. This instance saw him charged with second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.

Judge tosses charges against man federally charged with a Molotov cocktail: 'They shouldn't have searched him'
Kristopher Michael Donnelly Aug 30 arrest – MCDC

Although, this time there was no bail for Donnelly.

On September 2nd, Donnelly was handed over to federal authorities in order for him to make an appearance for the charges levied federally in relation to his alleged criminal acts from August 5th and August 8th mentioned in the federal complaint.

The federal case against Donnelly was said to have been investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

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In other federal cases linked to the Portland riots, the DOJ also announced that a Seattle man has been charged by criminal complaint with civil disorder, after shooting a firefighter with a ball bearing during a protest in downtown Portland on July 13th. 

According to court documents, a firefighting crew was working to put out a fire burning in the middle of an intersection that was blocking traffic in downtown Portland. A crowd of close to 300 people were in the immediate area, with some who were assaulting law enforcement officers, committing acts of vandalism, and destroying property.

One of the firefighters was walking across the street to go brief his team when he was stuck in the chest with a round metal ball bearing. The suspect, since identified as Jesse Herman Bates, 38, of Seattle was armed with a “write rocket” style slingshot. 

A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw Bates on camera, and identified him as the slingshot shooter. Bates was also identified by his clothing. According to police, when they spotted him near a white tent in Lownsdale Square, he was holding a crowbar.

When officers proceeded to confront him about the slingshot, and to inform him that he was under arrest, he ran with the crowbar in hand. Officers then shot less-than lethal munitions to stop Bates from running towards them with the crowbar.

Bates was hit with the less-than lethal munitions on his backside, causing him to drop the crowbar. He was then taken into custody and then later released. Bates was found carrying a stash of other weapons at the time of his arrest.

Items found included a switchblade knife, flares, umbrellas, spray paint, pyrotechnics, half-inch glass slingshot ammunition, and two slingshots. He was booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of felony assault, felony assault of a public safety officer, interfering with a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon, and disorderly conduct.

According to reports, he was quickly released without bail by the county. On August 25th, Seattle Police Department’s Robbery Unit received his outstanding warrant, and immediately issued a state-wide notice.

Seattle officers checked Bates’ last known address and learned that he was known to frequent Cal Anderson Park in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. On September 1st, officers on bicycle patrol spotted Bates near the park and arrested him without incident. He was then transferred to the District of Oregon by the FBI.

Bates made his initial appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. The judge ordered his release pending further court proceedings. If convicted, Bates faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. 

In another, unrelated incident, Michelle Peterson O’Connor, 31, of Portland is facing a federal charge of civil disorder after authorities said she threw a helmet at an officer. According to reports, O’Connor threw a helmet at an officer that was making an arrest during an unlawful assembly in the early morning hours of August 24th.

The helmet struck the officer in the head. O’Connor was initially arrested for attempted assault in the second degree, interfering with a peace officer, and disorderly conduct in the second degree. Police said that they made 23 arrests over the course of the night of August 24th.

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