Portland protest arrests near 1,000 as uprising resumes
Police made almost 980 arrests during Portland's Black Lives Matter protests — a stunning number for a four-month-long period of unrest without precedent in the city's history.
The Portland Police Bureau, Oregon State Police and other local agencies arrested at least 851 people between May 31 and Sept. 11 of this year, according to a "mass demonstration index" compiled by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office and obtained by the Portland Tribune.
"We are still in the process of reviewing cases and making charging decisions on many," said Brent Weisberg, a spokesman for the D.A. "The caveat is: if police make an arrest but don't refer a case to our office, that case wouldn't be shown in this index."
The once nightly demonstrations stalled out after hazardous fumes from several wildfires blanketed the city beginning Wednesday, Sept. 9 — before finally resuming Friday night, Sept. 18, after crowds gathered at the Immigration & Customs Enforcement facility in Southwest Portland. Eleven were arrested on Friday, raising the known total of local arrests to 862.
Street battles between the left and the right could reignite when western chauvinists known as the Proud Boys gather at Delta Park on Sept. 26.
The feds have arrested 98 people near the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse, and U.S. District of Oregon spokesman Kevin Sonoff said 88 now face federal charges. Of those, federal prosecutors are pursuing felony charges in 38 cases, and misdemeanor charges in 45. The remainder were cited.
A review of authorities' press releases shows at least 18 minors were detained during protests and referred to the county juvenile justice system.
The minimum total number of arrests, for now at least, is 978 — including those who were arrested or detained on multiple nights.
Of the 851 arrests reviewed by the District Attorney, 249 have been referred for potential felony charges, while another 599 are listed as misdemeanor charges. A few cases have charges listed as "null" or "other."
So far, District Attorney Mike Schmidt has filed charges in 19 cases involving protesters. The alleged crimes include shining a high-powered laser at police, throwing a mortar firework, a glass bottle or a shield, possessing a destructive device, firing a gun, assaulting police, or possessing a firearm or body armor while being a felon.
Of the 19 cases, only one person has been convicted so far, after pleading guilty to first-degree arson.
Schmidt, who successfully ran as a reformer during the D.A. election earlier this year, has pledged not to prosecute low-level offenses at demonstrations, excepting those involving deliberate property damage, theft or the threat or actual use of violence.
The policy appears to have made Schmidt few friends among PPB's rank-and-file officers and their police union.
In a widely read interview with The Intercept, Schmidt recalled one unnamed officer telling him, "I don't trust anything you do or say because you're antifa." Schmidt also says Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association, accused him of being "George Soros-backed."
Soros is a Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist, who often has been tied by social media commentators to conspiracy theories.
Reached for comment, Angela Orr, a spokeswoman for the union, said only: "Daryl did not make that statement."
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