Portland Unveils New Policy That Prohibits Charging Protesters With Non-Violent Crimes
Portland, Oregon’s District Attorney Mike Schmidt says his office will not prosecute protesters who have been charged with low-level offenses.
In a statement detailing the new policy released on Tuesday, Schmidt noted the protests that have been ongoing since the death of George Floyd on May 25.
The statement reads, “The demands for change go beyond a call for an end to police violence and encompass the need for us all to acknowledge and address centuries of racism and oppression.”“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates the demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting,” he added.
As stewards of public resources, we must devote our efforts to prosecuting crimes that allow us to protect our most vulnerable victims to have the greatest impact on promoting a safer community for everyone in Multnomah county.”Schmidt added that his office would “presumptively decline to charge cases where the most serious offenses are city ordinance violations and crimes that do not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against a person.”He outlined those charges: Interference With a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Trespass, Escape III, Harassment, or Riot.
Additionally, Schmidt said that charges of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer should be “subjected to a high level of scrutiny.”Schmidt said officials should consider whether the officer had probable cause for the arrest, if the defendant was “recently subjected to tear gas or other less lethal force,” or if they were “otherwise in pain, or unable to hear, breath or see at the moment” the arrest or alleged assault occurred.