Schmidt won the Multnomah County district attorney race held back in May on a progressive and reform-minded platform. His term was supposed to start on January 1, 2021. However, the Democratic governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, appointed Schmidt to serve out the term of the former incumbent, Rod Underhill, who retired on July 31.
“These demonstrations are being used to righteously express grief, anger and frustration over the senseless act of violence, and the countless other abuses people of color have endured throughout history at the hands of the legal system,” said Schmidt during one of his first press conferences as Multnomah County's new DA.
The new district attorney said that he wants to be responsive to the demands of the rioters. This new policy of not pursuing charges against a vast majority of them is “just the start.” (Related: Acting DHS Secretary Wolf: Retreat of federal officers from Portland has only made the riots worse.)
Listen to this breaking news episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about how Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to force President Donald Trump to pass a trillion-dollar bailout to save states run by the Democratic Party, such as Oregon, from bankruptcy and total collapse.
According to Schmidt, the county will only be pressing charges on demonstrators who have been arrested for theft, property damage or assault. This means that many rioters who were arrested by the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) will have their charges dropped. Many of these Antifa and Black Lives Matter individuals were arrested for rioting, disorderly conduct or for disobeying a direct order from the police.
This radical policy will apply for all charges placed on rioters dating back to May 29, when the civil unrest in Portland began, which virtually grants total amnesty to a significant number of criminals, who Schmidt believes are just “peaceful protesters.”
However, these prosecutions will come with caveats. Any case that includes a charge of either resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer, for example, will be “subjected to the highest level of scrutiny” by the deputy district attorney tasked with reviewing the case. Considerations will also be given once the DA's office takes into account “the chaos of a protesting environment,” such as if a charge was placed upon a rioter after the PPB used tear gas and other crowd-control munitions “en masse.”
Furthermore, while Schmidt has agreed to move forward with cases of property damage, his office will be seeking “alternatives to jail or prison time” if the suspect in question has only caused financial harm, such as when they destroy private property. These alternatives will include “restorative justice” options, such as a victim meeting with a defendant to decide on an appropriate way the criminal can make amends.
“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,” said Schmidt. “The prosecution of people exercising their rights to free speech and assembly in a nonviolent manner takes away from the limited resources that we have to prosecute serious crimes and to assist crime victims.”
Listed below are all of the charges that the new Multnomah County District Attorney's Office will decline to prosecute, especially if the charges are linked to the recent civil unrest):
Schmidt's new policies are already receiving a ton of backlash, especially from law-abiding citizens and PPB officers who will now have a much harder time maintaining order. Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association (PPA), the police union that represents rank-and-file members of the PPB, has gone so far as to accuse Schmidt of neglecting his duties as a district attorney.
In a letter sent by the PPA, Turner urges Schmidt to “hold the rioters accountable” for their criminal actions. The letter was sent after another night of rioting in Portland, where demonstrators started a fire and boarded-up entrances to the PPB's East Precinct building.
“Step up and do your job; hold the rioters accountable,” read the open letter. “If there is no consequence for crimes from the District Attorney's office, there is no reason for criminals to stop the chaos.”
Even a former district attorney has weighed in on the situation. Josh Marquis, a retired DA for nearby Clatsop County, said that for the first time in his career, a district attorney is now “making prosecution decisions essentially based on the political views of the demonstrators and his own.”
According to data shared by the DA's office, since May 29, the PPB has charged demonstrators with misdemeanors 417 times and with felonies 133 times. Of these charges, 313 were for interfering with a police officer and 44 were for rioting. Furthermore, 352 of the misdemeanor cases did not cause any bodily harm. This means that thanks to Schmidt's policy of being lenient towards rioters, a vast majority of these cases will not be prosecuted, and hundreds of rioters will be able to walk away without any convictions.
The release of hundreds of criminals is bound to cause a lot more upheaval in Portland. Stay updated on the latest events to occur in this crime-infested city by subscribing to Rioting.news.