The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, under the leadership of District Attorney Mike Schmidt, has made it de facto legal to riot. In 2020, Portland police made over one thousand arrests during the rioting. Yet, over 91% of the people arrested either had their charges dropped, or the DA has otherwise declined to prosecute.
Normally, state and Federal prosecutors are supposed to step in when a local community is refusing to prosecute. However, that does not seem to be happening. In fact, a lot of rioters charged by the state are also seeing their charges dropped by the Oregon State Attorney’s office.
Many of the same people have been arrested over and over but never prosecuted. On New Year’s Day, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler denounced Antifa by name and said they would finally be prosecuted for their crimes. So far it does not look promising. Gabe Johnson, co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland, called the Mayor’s statement “just words,” and stated “right now there’s a lot of people that are emboldened to just do whatever they want.”
Mike Schmidt ran for prosecutor on a platform of “fighting systemic racism,” “defending immigrants,” and to “stop criminalizing poverty.” He adheres to an ideology commonly known as “progressive prosecution.” This is when a prosecutor actively works to reduce the number of people in custody. This ideology is having grave consequences in cities all over the country. He was elected in May of 2020.
Since Schmidt took over, there has been rioting every single week. Often continuing for days at a time. Shootings and homicides exploded in July and continued to occur at a far elevated rate for the rest of the year. Undeterred, Mike Schmidt released a public video on August 1st. He denounced Portland as having engaged in “racially-motivated policies and practices” for decades. Schmidt explained that he was going to make things right and reform the system.
In 2020, the city had 54 homicides, a staggering 50% increase over 2019. Individual shootings in 2020 went up 127% compared to 2019. 2020 and 1993 are tied for the deadliest year in the history of the city. In January, Portland already had 7 homicides.
A group of officials from two neighboring suburban counties are speaking out.
Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton denounced Schmidt saying, “In ways, I’m seeing a tale of two cities. I’m seeing Portland and I’m seeing everybody else. They are Washington County’s neighbor and there’s clearly a fire happening in Portland right now. Question is, can they put that fire out and can they keep it from spreading to Washington County? Crime knows no boundary.”
Former Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote also denounced Schmidt saying, “the current DA in Multnomah County, who has no real life experience doing any of this comes in with his ideology as if none of that was right. None of his ideas are time tested anywhere. And the people that are going to suffer are the people who live in Multnomah County.”
According KOIN Channel 6, the charges dropped against people arrested during the riots have included:
Interfering with the peace officer
Assaulting an officer
Attempted assault on peace officer
Possession of a destructive device
Unlawful use of a weapon
Unlawful possession of a firearm
Felon in possession of a firearm