Oregon state police federally deputized for protest duty
Oregon State Police troopers responding to the ongoing protest-related unrest in Portland have been federally deputized, state police confirm.
State police tell KOIN 6 News they're working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to review arrests made by troopers assigned to Portland for potential prosecution. The troopers assigned to Portland have been cross-deputized by the U.S. Marshals.
The Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt previously announced his office would presumptively decline to prosecute certain misdemeanor charges stemming from the protests, a move which resulted in criticism from law enforcement agencies, including state police in mid-August.
"OSP is not criticizing any officials and we respect the authority of the [Multnomah County] District Attorney, but to meet the Governor's charge of bringing violence to an end we will use all lawful methods at our disposal," an Oregon State Police spokesperson said.
It is unclear at this time whether all arrests made by deputized state police troopers will be prosecuted on a federal level or if assaults on troopers at protests will result in charges of assault on a federal officer. KOIN 6 News has reached out for further clarification.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office said some troopers were federally deputized earlier this summer in order to enter the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse, which had been the epicenter of protests for the first two months.
"They are committed to working with our community, with the goal of protecting free speech, keeping the peace, and keeping people safe as they exercise their right to peacefully protest," the spokesperson said in a statement, adding, "The U.S. Attorney and Multnomah County D.A. work together every day deciding which cases each will prosecute."
The news of state police troopers being deputized by U.S. Marshals, which was first reported by freelance journalist Deborah Bloom, came a day after sheriffs from surrounding counties declined to send in deputies to help Multnomah County and the Portland Police Bureau after Gov. Brown outlined a law enforcement plan to respond to the unrest.
One person was shot and killed Saturday night near a pro-Trump caravan rally and counterprotest in downtown Portland, bringing a renewed spotlight on the city that has seen more than 90 days of consecutive protests and hundreds of resulting arrests.
KOIN 6 News is a media partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read there story with video here.
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