Attorney to MultCo DA: Change protest prosecution stance

2020 Protests

Kevin Mannix sent open letter to DA Mike Schmidt

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kevin Mannix, the former Oregon legislator and currently president of Common Sense for Oregon, said he’s called upon Gov. Kate Brown to authorize the state attorney general to prosecute arrested Portland protesters since new Multnomah County District Attorney said he generally won’t.

In an open letter to Schmidt on Wednesday, Mannix said Schmidt’s decision “is not prosecutorial discretion; this is complete surrender to lawlessness.”

On August 11, Schmidt — who took over from Rod Underhill on August 1 — said the cases the office would not prosecute are ones where the most serious offense is a city ordinance violation or where the crime(s) do not involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against another person. Such crimes include:

  • Interfering with a peace officer or parole and probation officer (ORS 162.247)
  • Disorderly conduct in the second degree (ORS 166.025)
  • Criminal trespass in the first and second degree (ORS 164.245 & ORS 164.255)
  • Escape in the third degree (ORS 162.145)
  • Harassment (ORS 166.065)
  • Riot (166.015) – Unless accompanied by a charge outside of this list

Mannix said Schmidt has “chosen to establish yourself as a mini-legislature where you can determine in advance that certain laws passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed by the Governor do not deserve any consideration for enforcement.”

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, August 3, 2020 (KOIN)

Though Mannix said he hopes Gov. Brown will use AG Ellen Rosenblum to prosecute these cases, he wants Schmidt to reverse course and apologize.

“I call upon you to withdraw your non-prosecution directive and to apologize to law enforcement officers who have been exposed to additional harm as a result of your inappropriate directive,” he wrote.

In June, Mannix represented the Elkhorn Baptist Church in a lawsuit against Gov. Brown’s executive order from Brown’s office related to the coronavirus pandemic. They claimed the order violated a 28-day statutory time limit and had expired.

However, the Oregon Supreme Court sided with Brown in limiting large in-person gatherings such as church services, vacating a previous lower court’s ruling that said the executive order was subject to a 28-day limit.

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