Charges dismissed against Portland protesters

The decision was made in consultation with the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Circuit Court administrations

Another protester is arrested on November 12, 2016. (KOIN)
Another protester is arrested on November 12, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the time being, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is not be prosecuting some of the people arrested during recent protests and a riot that took place in downtown. However, officials stressed additional investigation work is being conducted to identify additional suspects who could face criminal charges in the near feature.

The decision was made in consultation with the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Circuit Court administrations, officials said.

Of the 113 cases sent to the district attorney’s office by PPB, about 24 were set for arraignment on Monday afternoon. The other 65 cases are set for arraignment on Tuesday morning. The remaining 24 cases have not been filed with the courts yet because PPB cited some protesters, and they were never booked into jail.

In a statement police said, “Due to the fluid nature of the ongoing protests over the past several days, most of the arresting officers were on duty, working to protect the city during an emergent event. As such, work is continuing by officers and detectives to complete the necessary reports but they will not be finished in time for today’s (Monday) arraignments and for review by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. Additionally, hundreds of hours of video evidence capturing the events must be collected and reviewed.”

Officials tell us that each person who appears in court for their arraignment will be given a criminal citation for failing to obey a police officer. The offense is a Class B traffic violation. The case would be handled in traffic court.

Barbara Marcille, the Trial Court Administrator for Multnomah County, said anyone who was given a citation has an appearance deadline of Dec. 7 and 8th. She said people can appear before the date listed on their citations. The individuals who were cited have four options when it comes to resolving their cases:

Option 1-Appear in Person and Enter a Plea of No Contest
Option 2-Enter a Plea of No Contest by Written Appearance and Submit a Letter of Explanation
Option 3-Enter a Plea of Not Guilty by Written Appearance and Request a Trial
Option 4-Trial by Declaration

The presumptive fine for the violation most of the individuals have been given is $260, according to Marcille.

Just because the criminal cases are being dismissed right now doesn’t mean the individuals won’t be held accountable, according to police. Detectives are working with the district attorney’s office to identify the most serious cases. Prosecutors have the state’s statute of limitations on their side when determining whether to file charges.

In general, most felony cases have to be prosecuted three years from the date of the offense. Misdemeanor cases must be filed within two years of the offense date, and any violation must be prosecuted within 6 months of the date it occurred.

Officials stressed the cases are being worked on each day and expressed some certainty that the people responsible for smashing out vehicle windows and other significant acts of destruction will be identified and prosecuted.

“Although all of the defendants will be learning today that their case was a “no complaint” at arraignment, none of the cases have actually been evaluated for legal sufficiency and prosecutorial merit. Once the reports have been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office and the video evidence has been reviewed, decisions regarding prosecution will be made.

The sheer number of arrests during protests over the last several days has been an exceptional event and the charges being ‘no complainted’ today is not unexpected and is a procedural matter given the extensive amount of work left to do in these cases.” – Portland Police Bureau & Multnomah County DA’s Office Joint Statement.

Police continue to ask for the public’s help to identify criminal suspects involved in this last week’s protests and riot. Many people were taking pictures and video during the protests that may contain the identities of suspects involved in reports of widespread vandalism.

Some images of criminal suspects have been released publicly on the Bureau’s “CanYouIDMe” page and can be viewed at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/canyouidme/

The Bureau would like any victims of vandalism and related crimes to file a report online at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/cor/