District Attorney Mike Schmidt Announces He Will Not Prosecute Protestors in Portland

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By Shellsea Lomeli

PORTLAND, OR – The Multnomah County DA established a new policy in response to the peaceful protests and mass demonstrations that have flooded Portland since the police murder of George Floyd, announcing that protestors will not be prosecuted.

Protests and demonstrations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have developed across the nation and the globe since George Floyd’s tragic death on May 25. Portland, Oregon, is one of the cities that has been most impacted by these protests. In Portland, protestors have been lining the streets in large groups to protest social justice issues like police violence and systematic racism.

Over the past two months, hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested on allegations ranging from interfering with police officers to more severe offenses like arson. Controversial debate has consumed the city, as well as people all around the country, on the justice behind how the Portland police are handling the situation. President Donald Trump continues to suggest that the city bring in the National Guard to settle the demonstrations.

On August 11, 2020, District Attorney Mike Schmidt of Multnomah County announced that his office will not be prosecuting cases where the crime(s) did not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person.

According to the DA’s office, the new policy aims to promote community safety in the county as well as reduce the negative and lasting impacts an experience in the criminal justice system can have on an individual when they are arrested because of a peaceful protest.

“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peacefully protesting,” stated DA Schmidt.

“If we leverage the full force of the criminal justice system on individuals who are peacefully protesting and demanding to be heard, we will cause irreparable harm to the mandate to our society.”

The crimes the Multnomah County DA’s Office will presumptively decline to prosecute include the following:

  • Interfering with a peace officer or parole and probation officer
  • Disorderly conduct in the second degree
  • Criminal trespassing in the first and second degree
  • Escaping in the third degree
  • Harassment
  • Riot (Unless accompanied by a charge outside of this list.)

This new policy also aims to extinguish the incarceration of those charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime that only caused financial harm during a protest. The offenses listed under this category include:

  • Criminal mischief in the second and third-degree when the value is under $1,000
  • Theft in the first, second, and third-degree when the value is under $1000 or when the theft is committed during a riot.

Instead of a jail or prison sentence, the DA’s office will offer offenders conditional dismissal after restitution is paid or amends to the community are made in another way such as restorative justice with the impacted victim.

“What we are doing is recognizing that the right to speak and have your voice heard is extremely important,” said DA Schmidt at a press conference following his announcement.

“We will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we do not take action to bring about immediate change,” DA Schmidt stated.

Following DA Schmidt’s announcement, the Portland Police Department issued a statement of their own, restating their goal of maintaining peace and promoting public safety.

“We prefer not to make arrests at all, stated the Portland Police Chief. “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.

“DA Schmidt’s policy does not change the law,” the Portland PD clarified. “The Portland Police Bureau will continue to do the job the community expects of us…and we will continue to work with the District Attorney’s Office in the interest of public safety.”

The new policy on prosecuting protestors has been met with a mix of support and scrutiny.

“Portland now belongs to the anarchists,” stated Ian Cheong, Managing Editor of a conservative American political news outlet.

Others have expressed their support for the policy, calling it “reformative justice in action.”

Based on the Multnomah County District Attorney’s new policy, it is inferred that hundreds of criminal cases against Portland protesters will be dropped.

The county will continue to look at Portland, Oregon, as the city enters its 75th night of social justice protests, waiting to see the impact DA Mike Schmidt’s policy will have on the actions, demonstrators and police officers.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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9 thoughts on “District Attorney Mike Schmidt Announces He Will Not Prosecute Protestors in Portland”

  1. Keith Olsen

    The Multnomah County DA established a new policy in response to the peaceful protests 

    Nope!

    “Portland now belongs to the anarchists”

    Yup!

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      You appear to want to argue whether the protests are peaceful – that’s got nothing to do with this article. The prosecutor laid out the list of violations that will not be prosecuted and a list of violations where there will be “offenders conditional dismissal after restitution is paid or amends to the community are made in another way such as restorative justice with the impacted victim.” You are missing the story here.

      1. Keith Olsen

        You appear to want to argue whether the protests are peaceful – that’s got nothing to do with this article.

        The (your?) writer wrote that the protests are/were peaceful, not me.  That’s a totally false narrative.  That has everything to do with the article as protesters/rioters in many cases will get away with their crimes with either no prosecution or just a hand slap which we all know will lead to more looting, destruction and violence.  This is what you get with progressive DA’s.

         

         

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          No they didn’t. The DA said he would not prosecute someone because of a peaceful protest – that doesn’t mean all the protests are peaceful.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Perhaps, to KO (and many others)… there is ANOTHER story… had Floyd not died/been executed/been murdered (choose the narrative), there might not have been the protests… others have opined that the protests/vandalism/looting were not about that at all… it was a Democrat conspiracy against POTUS (which is silly as it gave POTUS an excuse to ‘send in the troops’ and posture on a “law and order” theme)… re-hashing what’s going on in Portland can feed a lot of  “theories”… lots of ‘dots’, many ways of ‘connecting’ them… depending on one’s agenda… and their interpretation of the story…

        No judgement,  just saying… am thinking there are many folk “spinning” events, to their own purposes… and spending a lot of time and effort to do so… ‘right’ spin, ‘left’ spin [or pro-police/authority or anti- police/authority] (and if someone spins things in one direction, there tends to be an equal, opposite force, to deny the one spin is true, and their spin is obviously the correct one… in either case, not unbiased… and therefore, not truth…

         

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          There are many stories – this was a very narrow and specific story about prosecution decisions made by a progressive prosecutor who was just elected with 68 percent of the vote in May. Seemed like an interesting story to tell.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Yes… your ‘selection’, your ‘spin’… others ‘pick’ other parts of the narrative, and ‘spin’ to suit their purposes.  My point, exactly…

          And, nothing wrong with that… nor, the ‘blowback’ that comes from that…

  2. Alan Miller

    District Attorney Mike Schmidt of Multnomah County announced that his office will not be prosecuting cases where the crime(s) did not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person.

    I don’t have any problem with this.  Seems a no brainer to put positive spin on an impossible situation.  With all the protests and the virus, they couldn’t possibly process everyone for every minor offense in the next several years.  As long as they put their resources into putting away those who tried to set fire to the courthouse and blind people with green lasers — do that!

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