Portland Police Bureau officers who were federally deputized last weekend ahead of a right-wing demonstration and counter-protests will retain their status through the end of the year, the bureau confirmed Monday, Sept. 28.
Officers on PPB's Rapid Response Team were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service on Saturday ahead of a Proud Boys rally that was held at Delta Park. The status means a Portland police officer can arrest someone for a federal crime and turn the case over to a federal prosecutor instead of a state prosecutor.
In August, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced his office would not prosecute certain crimes stemming from nightly protests in the city. Such crimes included Interfering with a Peace Officer and Disorderly Conduct — some of the most common charges demonstrators have been arrested for.
With federally deputized officers in the Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team, arrests officers make can potentially bypass the local courts and go on to federal courts to pursue charges.
On Friday, Gov. Kate Brown appointed the heads of Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office as joint incident commanders of protests in Portland for the 48-hour period.
Ahead of the demonstrations, OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton said, "Portland Officers have been serving on the front lines of nightly protests for months, sustaining injuries and encountering unspeakable violence. If I am to send them into harm's way this weekend on my authority, I'm going to ensure they have all the protections and authority of OSP Troopers. I want violent individuals thinking about the enhanced penalties they may face if they harm a PPB officer."
On Saturday, members of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Rapid Response Team were deputized as well. It is unclear if they will remain so through the rest of the year as well, however.
On Sunday, Brown ended the joint incident command following the rally and thanked "Oregonians for not rising to the bait when the Proud Boys came from out of town to express their hateful views."
She also addressed concerns of police use-of-force during a demonstration that happened outside the Justice Center later that same night and asked for each agency involved — OSP, MCSO, PPB — to "review any alleged incidents involving officers from each of their agencies during joint operations last night."
KOIN 6 News has also reached out to Brown's office for a comment on the deputization of PPB officers and is waiting for a response.
When asked for comment, Mayor Ted Wheeler's office said they do not have one at this time.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
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