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18 more people face federal charges from Portland protests, U.S. Attorney's office says

The U.S. Attorney's Office says that 18 individuals are charged with charges related to protests outside of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland.

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 11:47 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 12:25 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Clashes in downtown Portland between federal law enforcement officers and protesters have resulted in federal charges for 18 people this week, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Protests in downtown Portland have been followed by nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "The Hatfield Federal Courthouse has been a nightly target of vandalism during evening protests and riots, sustaining extensive damage."


(Photo courtesy Doug Brown / ACLU of Oregon)

(Photo courtesy Doug Brown / ACLU of Oregon)

Four people are accused of assaulting a federal officer. One person was charged with arson, and another with willfully damaging government property. One person was charged with creating a disturbance, and another with trespassing on federal property. The majority of people arrested, however, were charged with "failing to comply with a lawful order."

All of the charges stem from demonstrations between July 20 and July 22, and the U.S. Attorney's Office said that all defendants are presumed to be local residents.

Based on previous statements from the U.S. Attorney's office, at least seven people have been arrested and charged in federal court prior to this week, though there may be more arrests that have not been publicized.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Portland issued a temporary restraining order barring federal officers from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers. In a lawsuit, the ACLU cited examples of journalists identifying themselves during the protests and still being subjected to force.

The offices of the Inspector General for both the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security agreed earlier this week to open investigations into the tactics of federal law enforcement during the Portland protests.

U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams issued a statement last Friday, decrying individuals among the protesters who have allegedly used commercial fireworks, lasers, paint, and other objects to pelt or harass federal officers — in addition to acts of arson and vandalism on federal property.

"They have endeavored to find the individuals within the crowd who are committing these violent acts and arrest them in a manner that is safe for both the officers and nearby non-violent protesters," Williams said of the federal officers. "In limited instances, their conduct has been questioned and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General appropriately opened an investigation into the use of less lethal ammunition directed at a protester last week."

The federal law enforcement units involved face accusations of indiscriminate use of force; the extra-judicial detaining of protesters; and lack of any clear identification for the various units, agencies, or individual officers. Both the leaders of Portland's city government and members of Oregon's Congressional delegation have called for the officers to be removed from the city.

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