PORTLAND, OR – For 76 nights, protestors in Portland have clashed with police, damaged downtown infrastructure and businesses and sent the city into a state of upheaval.
Now, $20 million in damages and 550 arrests later, the newly sworn Multnomah County District Attorney has said he won’t prosecute many of those misdemeanor cases.
Piggybacking off his announcement, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said he would “prefer” not to make arrests.
In a statement, Chief Lovell said:
“The Portland Police Bureau remains committed to public safety. We have said repeatedly throughout these long months that we would prefer not to make arrests at all.”
It goes on to say:
“Committing a crime is different from demonstrating. Some people use the gatherings as an opportunity to commit crimes.
The arrests we make often come after hours of damage to private property, disruption of public transit and traffic on public streets, thefts from small businesses, arson, burglary, attacks on members of the community, and attacks against police officers.
The Portland Police Bureau is much more interested in collaborating with the community in ways that will lift people up. We are much more interested in seizing a positive momentum and listening to our community on how we re-envision public safety.”
The statement came on the heels of a new policy from the DA’s office. Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt releasing the following Tuesday:
“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 that senseless 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 address centuries of racism and oppression that are manifested in mass incarceration, economic inequality, educational disadvantages, and disparities in health care that have allowed COVID-19 to ravage our communities of color.
As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations 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 policy said that the following crimes will not be prosecuted:
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.
The new policy appears to be in play immediately.
Multnomah County Jail booking records show protestors arrested this week and already quietly released at no bond for crimes including resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and disorderly conduct.
The announcement has already drawn social media backlash, with nearly 800 comments on Schmidt’s only Tweet since taking office.
Just before I was sworn in as DA, I sat down with an old buddy of mine, @AWKWORDrap, for an interview about my priorities as District Attorney and rethinking what public safety means. Check it out: https://t.co/v6NBHgUrMp
— Mike Schmidt (@DAMikeSchmidt) August 8, 2020
In the meantime, PPB Police Chief Lovell said:
“The Portland Police Bureau will continue to do the job the community expects of us, and will continue to reach out to all people to connect and build trusting relationships.
One of those relationships is with the District Attorney, and we will continue to work with that office in the interest of public safety.”
Portland: The feds left, the riots continued. Now countless cops are wounded and it’s getting worse.
This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
PORTLAND, OR – Last night, another riot was declared in Portland. The night before, a riot was also declared. So far, that is 75 straight days of rioting in Portland. The only aspect of this story that is news, is that according to city officials, this wasn’t supposed to happen after Friday, August 8.
According to reporter Conrad Wilson:
“A week ago, state police took over as the main presence guarding the federal courthouse. Prior to that, the crowds were much larger, and at times it was a violent and dangerous situation with lots of tear gas. And while protesters have turned out in the last week, the mood has been dramatically different – much calmer, at least outside the federal courthouse.”
And yet, the riots never stopped. Police continue to be assaulted. Vandalism continues, commercial fireworks are being used as dangerous mortar-like weapons and incendiary devices. Monday night, two officers were injured by one of these devices.
On Saturday, so-called “protesters” “tried to” beak into a Portland police precinct and started what Wilson characterized as a “small fire.”
If they only tried to break in, how did they set the small fire? Also, how small is “a small fire”? Aren’t all fires “small” before they burn down buildings and neighborhoods?
Arsonist John Orr started his fires with a device made of a cigarette, three matches, a rubber band, and a little paper. Despite the small size of his fires at first, one of them managed to destroy one of the largest buildings in South Pasadena (killing four people) not to mention the many more fires he caused using the same “small” device.
Everything about these “protests” is a lie.
They aren’t “protests”, they aren’t “peaceful”, they are insurrectionist riots.
The “small” fire had the potential to be as big as any fire has ever been, so it’s size when it started is irrelevant. “Protesters” haven’t calmed down and become docile now that federal agents have moved inside buildings, they just started a fire inside one of those buildings after breaking in.
The only reason the fire didn’t get any bigger is that agents inside were able to put it out.
Last night, Portland police spent another lovely summer evening getting pelted with verbal abuse and various projectiles. The strategy of the, and let’s call them what they really are, the insurrectionists, seems to be attrition.
They are doing everything they can to take so many small bites out of city infrastructure, police defenses, morale, and public support of law enforcement, that they can overwhelm their cities with force of numbers.
Every day, the position of law enforcement weakens. Every day, another officer is wounded or killed. Every day, another building is vandalized and made less efficient. Every day, the public has more reason to be afraid of the insurrectionists, making them less likely to speak up in defense of law enforcement.
It cannot continue. Our president had the right idea. By sending in federal troops when he did, violence was immediately reduced. However, local officials negotiated for a weaker position relative to those who would destroy their cities, and the destruction continues.
The good news is that Mayor Wheeler seems to have realized that maybe he erred by describing “protesters” as peaceful and going along with their demands.
On August 7, he finally admitted what was obvious to everyone else more than two months earlier:
“When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder.”
President Trump knows what to do, and has known for months, but his hands have been tied by state jurisdiction over law enforcement. Despite that, he warned local officials today in a tweet:
“Portland, which is out of control, should finally, after almost 3 months, bring in the National Guard. The Mayor and Governor are putting people’s lives at risk. They will be held responsible”.
Portland, which is out of control, should finally, after almost 3 months, bring in the National Guard. The Mayor and Governor are putting people’s lives at risk. They will be held responsible. The Guard is ready to act immediately. The Courthouse is secured by Homeland!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2020
The President’s tweet, in 32 words, said all that needs to be said. Portland is out of control.
The city is horribly disintegrating night after night as if under assault by mindless zombies in a science fiction movie. It has been going on for almost three months.
That is a long time to sit back and watch a series of major crimes in progress without making any serious effort to stop them. The National Guard is trained to deal with situations like this and do not report to local authorities.
They can deal with the situation and get it solved quickly. Local law enforcement are probably capable as well, except their chain of command includes elected officials who have reduced their effectiveness to unacceptable levels.
The mayor and governor are putting lives at risk and they should be held responsible.
Elected officials can be voted out of office. They could be impeached.
Neither of those penalties comes close to making up for their culpability in these riots. If that is all that can be done, it should be, and as quickly as possible. If they can be declared unfit for duty and removed immediately, even better.
The rioters are responsible for the riots, but elected officials could have stopped them long ago and didn’t. That was their job. Maybe it isn’t a coincidence that in fifteen of the last seventeen police-related incidents that led to civil unrest, they happened in Democrat-controlled cities.
Maybe the problem isn’t the police. Maybe it is the elected officials above them who create conditions that result in these incidents.
AG Barr destroys media for bias reporting of the Portland riots: ‘Anyone with eyes can see what’s happening’
Portland, OR– Since the violent protests began across the nation over 100 days ago, major media outlets have reported a bias view of what is actually taking place.
Anyone who actually wants to look, will see the insane violence, vandalism, looting, and attacks taking place on police officers.
Attorney General William Barr is no longer remaining silent on the issue, and called out the media platforms on Sunday August 9th.
According to Breitbart, Barr said on Fox News Channel’s “Life, Liberty & Levin” that he has been “appalled” by the blatant violence seen in Portland but lamented that the “partisan” mainstream media are feeding Americans a “lie” when it comes to what they show on their cable stations.
— The Western Journal (@WestJournalism) August 10, 2020
Barr told host Mark Levin:
“They are projecting a narrative,”
He went on to say:
“When the word narrative came into currency, I knew we were in trouble because the word narrative really suggests there is no objective truth.
There is no real story of what happened, it’s just everyone has their own narrative, and you get to then the press can justify presenting a story that doesn’t really correspond to the objective truth, but it’s our narrative. We have a narrative. You have a narrative.”
“I’ve been appalled … on this violence because it’s happening right out in the streets,”
Finally he said:
“Anyone with eyes can see what’s happening. They see the violence. They see these groups of agitators and their black outfits, their helmets and their shields, which, incidentally, have the hammer and sickle on them most of the time, are rushing the police, causing violence, throwing rocks, people showing up with the rocks and frozen bottles.
That’s happening. That’s happening in front of people.
You don’t see it on any of the national news. You don’t see it on the networks. You don’t see it on the cable stations. And yet you hear about these peaceful demonstrators, so it’s a lie. The American people are being told a lie by the media.”
It is refreshing to hear a politician speaking the truth, and openly discuss the “unpopular” facts about what is actually taking place.
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William Barr has not only spoken up about the reality of the riots, but he also openly supports police officers, again, an “unpopular” thing to do in today’s society.
VIRGINIA – It sure is nice to have an Attorney General who actually loves law enforcement.
United States Attorney General, William Barr, the top cop in the United States, drove past a pro-police rally in Virginia on August 6th. Instead of just waving and passing by, he decided he needed to stop and personally thank the group for their support.
That time you’re driving in Virginia and the Attorney General spots a group of people in front of a police precinct showing their support for the police.
AG to FBI Detail: “Can we make a quick U-Turn? I want to jump out and thank those people.”
— Kerri Kupec DOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) August 7, 2020
Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for Barr said that they were driving by when the group was noticed by the Attorney General. She said that Barr asked his security detail:
“Can we make a quick U-Turn? I want to jump out and thank those people.”
“That time you’re driving in Virginia and the Attorney General spots a group of people in front of a police precinct showing their support for the police.”
People in the group were standing in front of the local police department holding signs in support of law enforcement. Some of the signs read “Back the Blue and “They give their lives for you.”
In the video from Kupec, one of the people in the crowd can be heard saying “we love you.”
Others are telling him they were supportive of his testimony and thought he did well.
The woman was referring to the latest testimony in which Barr backed up President Trump’s decision on sending in federal police in Portland to defend federal property. Barr also commented that the riots occurring were an “assault on the government of the United States.”
Barr stated that the riots and those that participate in them “hijacked legitimate demonstrations against police brutality.” He further added:
“Every night for the past two months a mob of hundred of rioters have laid siege to the federal courthouse and other nearby federal property.
He said it was nothing short of war.
“The rioters have come equipped for fighting. Armed with powerful slingshots, tasers, sledgehammers, saws, knives, rifles, and explosive devices.”
“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform. Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law.”
Barr specifically touched on racial tensions following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer. He also acknowledged racial discrimination that was rampant in laws and in police agencies throughout the country many years ago.
Barr stated his belief that regardless of what the laws are that black Americans tend to feel a “deeper, lingering concern that, in encounters with police…they will be treated with greater suspicion than a white person would under the circumstances.”
His belief is that this feeling of mistrust will erode over time and that the system in and of itself is not racist.
Barr also pointed out that there is a significant issue concerning members of the black community killing other black people. He believes this issue is more pressing than any complaint on police brutality issue.
He points out that the leading cause of death for young black men is homicide, not at the hands of the police, but from their community.
Barr stated that 90% of the young black men killed each year as at the hands of another black man. He added in his belief, “Each of those lives matter.”
Going against popular opinion, Barr has recently pushed for investment into police forces throughout the country instead of the defunding movement pushed by democratic leaders. Barr participated in an interview with ABC News said:
“But I think we have to think about more investment in the police.
“Now part of it, as you say, is that the police are being called on to do more and more. Deal with mental illness, deal with homelessness, deal with drug addiction where they don’t have the training and…the expertise sometimes to deal with it.”