AP featured image
Demonstrators huddle and blow back tear gas with leaf blowers during clashes with federal officers during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

If you’re still living in Portland, perhaps now is the time to leave.

The Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, the progressive prosecutor who has purview over Portland, announced on Tuesday that he would be dropping hundreds of cases against the rioters and will no longer be prosecuting people for rioting alone.

So what does that mean? That mean most of the charges and crimes that rioters commit will be given a pass.

Interfering with police, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, escape or harassment will not be charged unless they involve “deliberate’’ property damage, theft or force against another person or threats of force, according to Schmidt.

What does that mean, practically? Rioters goes on your property in the middle of the night and frightens you? Too bad, trespass is cool. Free speech, don’t you know? Rioter tries to de-arrest a “comrade” and struggles with the cops to get the suspect away? He gets a pass, no more interfering with police. Expect more of that to happen now, endangering the cops even more.

From Oregonian:

Schmidt said prosecutors will carefully scrutinize allegations of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer to determine their context. For instance, he said, prosecutors will consider if the accusations sprung from “the chaos of a protesting environment,” where some people have been “gassed repeatedly, struck with impact munitions” or are acting out because they believe police have mishandled fellow protesters.

Those likely will be dismissed, he said.

In other words, if they have political reasons they like for resisting the cop, they get off.

“What we’re doing is recognizing that the right to speak and have your voice heard is extremely important,” Schmidt said. “If you’re out there committing violence, you’re damaging property, those cases are going to be prosecuted. If you’re a person who is out there demonstrating and you get caught up in the melee, those are the kinds of cases that we’re talking about.” [….]

The changes, he said, reflect his recognition that people taking to the streets are deeply frustrated by over policing and disparate treatment of people of color and that his office doesn’t want to further perpetuate the deep-seated problems.

Schmidt said many of the people arrested over 75 days of consecutive daily demonstrations have little to no criminal histories and prosecuting them would cause unnecessary harm.

“This policy acknowledges that centuries of disparate treatment of Black and brown people have left people with deep wounds,’’ he said. “This policy recognizes 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, mental and physical health and build trust with everybody in our community.”

So criminals get a pass because actually prosecuting them might damage their already fragile and screwy psyche or hurt their possibility of doing something other than live in mommy’s basement?

But Schmidt apparently hasn’t even brought charges against this guy we reported on who was caught for allegedly going into the Multnomah County Justice Center, their own building and set it on fire. The feds brought charges. Where are the state charges? Isn’t that “deliberate property damage?” Hard to argue with caught on camera and with his name on his back. So one has to wonder if even that would be charged by the state if they haven’t brought it yet.

Most of the 550 cases since rioting began on May 29 will be dropped. Out of those numbers, 140 of them were for felonies including assault, arson, riot and theft. Only 45 of those felonies have so far been charged, with many of the rest likely being dropped and others being reviewed.

What about the cops or the regular non-criminal citizens who have suffered in all this? Why doesn’t their opinion matter? Because it doesn’t serve the political agenda to fundamentally transform.