Multnomah County district attorney Mike Schmidt released a statement Tuesday saying his office will not prosecute most of Portland’s rioting-related charges.
“It’s important to me that the voices of the protesters be heard,” Schmidt said at a press conference.
Offenses Schmidt will not prosecute include disorderly conduct as well as interfering with police officers and rioting. Charges related to resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer “should be subjected to a high level of scrutiny by the issuing deputy,” according to a statement released by Schmidt. The office will prosecute assault and arson charges as usual.
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“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting,” Schmidt said in the statement. “We recognize that we will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we leverage the force of our criminal justice system against peaceful protesters who are demanding to be heard.”
Nightly anti-police protests began in late May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Since then, rioters have targeted the city’s federal courthouse—repeatedly launching fireworks at the building and federal officers that were stationed there—as well as local police departments. Just last week, rioters set fire to the Portland police union’s headquarters.
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