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Multnomah County D.A. Announcing He Won’t Charge Many Of Those Arrested During Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. — Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced Tuesday most of the people arrested during protests and riots will not face criminal charges.

During a press conference, D.A. Schmidt said: “In order to advance public safety, we must not only prevent crime, but we must also promote economic and housing stability, educational opportunities, strong family and community relationships, and the mental and physical health of all those in our community.  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 them individually and to our society.  The prosecution of people exercising their rights to free speech and assembly in a non-violent manner takes away from the limited resources that we have to prosecute serious crimes and to assist crime victims.”

In summary, under the new policy:

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will presumptively decline to prosecute a case where the most serious offense is a city ordinance violation or where the crime(s) do not involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against another person.

Crimes in this category include:

  • Interfering with a peace officer or parole and probation officer (ORS 162.247)
  • Disorderly conduct in the second degree (ORS 166.025)
  • Criminal trespass in the first and second degree (ORS 164.245 & ORS 164.255)
  • Escape in the third degree (ORS 162.145)
  • Harassment  (ORS 166.065)
  • Riot (166.015) – Unless accompanied by a charge outside of this list.

When a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime that causes only financial harm during a protest, there will be a presumption that the individual will either be offered conditional dismissal after restitution is paid to the victim or when other amends to the community are made, such as restorative justice with the impacted victim.

Crimes in this category include:

  • Criminal mischief in the second and third degree (ORS 164.345 & ORS 164.354)
  • When the value is under $1,000
  • Theft in the first, second and third degree (ORS 164.043, ORS 164.045 & ORS 164.055)
  • When the value is under $1,000 or when the theft is committed during a riot
  • Burglary in the second degree if combined with any criminal mischief or theft allegation.
  • D.A. Schmidt did say “this is not a free pass” and that acts of intentional physical violence against community members and/or law enforcement – such as assaults and arson cases – will be handled according to general office policies.

You can read a full copy of the new policy here

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