Feds charge 74 with crimes committed during Portland protests
Two weeks after Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that he would not prosecute hundreds of people accused of crimes committed during protests in Portland, his federal counterpart, U.S. Attorney Billy Williams, announced that he has charged 74 such people.
Some of the cases involve damage to federal property or assaults on federal officers, some of whom were sent to Portland by President Donald Trump in a move that many blamed for escalating interest in protest-related violence after the controversial killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Others involve crimes that would normally seem the province of state prosecutors, such as one man's alleged arson at the Multnomah County Justice Center downtown on May 29.
According to the announcement issued by Williams, "It is important to note that while some federal charges require crimes be committed on federal property, others do not. Violent acts committed throughout the city of Portland under the guise of peaceful protest are being evaluated by local federal prosecutors for prosecution."
The federal press release also stressed that federal charges sometimes carry much lengthier sentences than charges filed in state court: "For example, felony assault of a federal officer with a dangerous weapon is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Arson is punishable by up to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years."
The defendants range in age from 18 to 45.
In all, federal officers have arrested 100 people for alleged crimes during protests in Portland since May 26, according to the release.
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