Grand jury indicts Portland protester on arson, assault charges

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Cyan Bass is accused of starting two fires at the Multnomah County Justice Center and throwing a destructive device at an officer.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Multnomah County grand jury indicted a 21-year-old man who’s accused of throwing a destructive device at a police officer during a protest near the Justice Center on Sept. 23, 2020. 

Cyan Bass is charged with two counts of first-degree arson, one count of first-degree attempted arson, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device, one count of riot, one count of attempted assault on a public safety officer, and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. 

On Sept. 23, police declared the mass gathering a riot. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office says demonstrators reportedly set two separate fires to the Multnomah County Justice Center, causing more than $1,000 in damage. Police identified Bass as the person suspected of starting both fires. 

Three police officers were hurt that night and 13 people were arrested, including Bass. Demonstrators also threw several Molotov cocktails. The riot came amid national unrest over the ruling in the case of Breonna Taylor’s death, which was announced earlier in the day.

That night, police said they saw Bass “holding a crowbar and using a slingshot or wrist-rocket to shoot projectiles through the windows of the PPB Central Precinct portion of the building,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is pursuing federal charges against Bass.

Police believe Bass threw a destructive device, which did not explode, toward a police officer. 

When police arrested Bass the night of the protest, they allegedly found marbles, a crowbar, a slingshot, two lighters and a clear bottle with an unknown liquid in his possession. 

Hannah Lilly, 21, is a co-defendant in the case. Both Lilly and Bass originally had their local charges dropped or dismissed, but the cases were officially reinstated Tuesday, according to court records. A spokesperson for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said their office determined “additional investigative follow up was required” and that law enforcement worked with prosecutors in order to obtain enough evidence to present to the grand jury.

Portland police arrested both suspects on Tuesday.

Lilly is now charged with two counts of first-degree arson, one count of first-degree attempted arson, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, and one count of riot.

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