Multnomah County DA Won’t Prosecute Portland Protesters

 In opinion, Politics

If you live in Portland, it’s time to move, and do it quickly. Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt has a new policy: they will no longer prosecute people for exercising their “first amendment rights.” That includes the offenses of interfering with police, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, escape and harassment. (Those are “first amendment rights?” – those are not peaceable assemblies). He has literally created a “get-out-of-jail-free-card,” but thinks he didn’t.

The vast majority of those arrested in the Portland riots have been white, just for information. (Daily Mail)

The Multnomah County DA says they will still prosecute people for crimes that involve deliberate property damage, theft or force against another person or threats of force. The new policy doesn’t affect Federal charges, which are numerous. The signal he just sent to Antifa, BLM and others, however, could turn into a snarl: ‘you can mess with the citizens and police all you want and we won’t do a thing.’

“If you’re out there committing violence, you’re damaging property, those cases are going to be prosecuted. If you’re a person who is out there demonstrating and you get caught up in the melee, those are the kinds of cases that we’re talking about.” Mike Schmidt

The view of officials in this area is STILL that the riots are just reactions to George Floyd and frustration over police brutality. Protesting and rioting are different, but lately have all melded together in one giant cluster that is most certainly NOT “peaceful.”

“The protesters are angry … and deeply frustrated with what they perceive to be structural inequities in our basic social fabric. And this frustration can escalate to levels that violate the law…What we’re doing is recognizing that the right to speak and have your voice heard is extremely important.” Mike Schmidt to KGW8.

The way the justice system is supposed to work is that if you get arrested, you go to court and tell the judge your story. IF you are “just caught up in the melee” (whatever that means), the punishment should fit the crime, or be completely dismissed. This District Attorney has decided to totally revamp the system and has done it based on a misconception of what is occurring. His new “policy” will be for the future as well.

In fairness, Schmidt is trying to separate the rioters from the legitimate protesters. But is making a blanket “no prosecution” policy the way to go about it?

According to media reports, the Multnomah County DA’s office has received 550 referrals since May, and they were already behind because of the virus. The DA, who took office on August 1,  is attempting to “create a forum” for people’s voices to be heard. The prosecutor is not the person to create any such “forum.” Police aren’t exactly thrilled at the new policy, and rejected it at first. The Portland Police Chief and Multnomah County Sheriff worked with the DA and community leaders on a “compromise.”

“Committing a crime is different from demonstrating. 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.” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell

The types of crimes the Multnomah County DA says they are no longer prosecuting are misdemeanors. But they are the kind of misdemeanors that lend themselves to larger issues. Blocking traffic, as we have seen, tends to lead to angry confrontations and has even led to death. Congregating on people’s property (criminal trespass) also tends to lead to angry confrontations and can bring about death or assault. Harrassment, interfering with police, escape, etc., all of that are recipes for larger criminal incidents. Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt is clueless.

Featured photo: Screenshot of Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt via KGW8


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