Recently elected Multnomah County (OR) District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced on Tuesday that his office will not prosecute many protesters who have been arrested during this summer's Portland demonstrations and riots.
Schmidt said his office will presumptively decline to prosecute those whose most serious accusation doesn’t involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against someone else, the Oregonian reports.
Prosecutors will scrutinize the cases of protesters accused of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer and consider “the chaos of a protesting environment, especially after tear gas or other less-lethal munitions have been deployed against community members en masse,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release.
“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting,” Schmidt, who recently took office, said in a statement. “We will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we do not take action to bring about immediate change.”
“The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is neither condoning nor endorsing the conduct that led to the arrest or citation of a person,” the office said.