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PORTLAND, OR – Last night following months of rioting, arson and general unrest in Portland, Oregon, Governor Kate Brown issued a memo indemnifying Clackamas and Washington Counties as well as the City of Gresham for law enforcement assistance.
“The City of Portland has agreed to indemnify Clackamas and Washington Counties and the City of Gresham for law enforcement assistance. In addition, the Mayor will seek financial resources to reimburse these jurisdictions for their support.”
That is to say, officers from these departments will have additional legal protections and their immunities expanded as they work to quell the unrest. Seen in two videos shared on Twitter are officers arresting and detaining protestors. While it is unclear what the precise reasoning is for Portland Police arresting these individuals, it is known that a curfew is in effect and protestors were instructed to remain on the sidewalks and away from the road. Presumably, these orders were violated in some way.
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This represents a sudden and radical change in policy as for the last several weeks DA Mike Schmidt for Multnomah County had been steadfastly refusing to prosecute many of those arrested, and there was a general sense of leniency for those taking part in protests, many of which had turned violent or destructive over the course of these last few weeks.
It is also worth noting that President Trump had declared his intention to deploy Federal Agents back into Portland following what has been called the execution of a believed Trump supporter on the 30th particularly when considering that it is believed the shooter was previously released on a charge of carrying a loaded weapon in a public space. Those charges were dropped on July 30th, a mere two days before DA Schmidt formally took charge.
This coming to light will likely prompt intense scrutiny over DA Schmidt’s office, as this occurred while his administration was replacing and taking over the duties and decisions of the prior DA. Further, the 9th Circuit Appeals Court has temporarily suspended protections for journalists at such protests in a 2-1 decision, which is likely the result of instances of rioters claiming to be press agents to avoid arrest. The 9th Circuit is scheduled to reconvene September 3rd to be briefed on the federal government’s request for a stay, where they could reinstate such protections.