State drops charges against more Portland protesters

2020 Protests

Charges mostly included disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer, and criminal trespass

A protester stands with a sign that reads “No Justice No Peace” near the Justice Center in downtown Portland. July 17, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At least 16 people facing protest-related charges were set to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Multnomah County Circuit Court. All but one had their charges dropped.

Most of the charges stemmed from July 16, a night when demonstrations occurred on both sides of the Willamette River. Federal officers deployed tear gas and riot control munitions in an attempt to disperse protesters near the Justice Center and federal courthouse building.

Meanwhile, Portland police rushed demonstrators near the Penumbra Kelly building on East Burnside Street after declaring an unlawful assembly during the 49th night of unrest in the city.

A handful of those who appeared in court Tuesday afternoon had been arrested the following night, July 17, during demonstrations in downtown Portland.

Most of the charges were for disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer, and criminal trespass, all misdemeanors.

“Love to hear it,” John Alger said via phone when the judge informed him the state would not be pursuing charges against him. Alger has been arrested at three protests, most recently on Sept. 5, according to court documents. Charges have been listed as “no complaint” in all three cases, which technically means authorities could pursue the charges again at a later date. However, that rarely happens, and the cases are listed as “closed.”

Timothy Swales, 31, was the only person not to have his charges dropped Tuesday. He faces six charges including attempting to elude a police officer by vehicle (a felony), interfering with an officer, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, hit and run, and attempting to elude an officer on foot. Swales is due back in court in late November.

The Portland Police Bureau has made more than 800 arrests since the first riot broke out in downtown Portland on May 29. Charges have already been dropped in hundreds of those cases.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced in August it would “presumptively decline to prosecute” cases where the most serious offenses are city ordinance violations, or don’t involve “deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force” against others.

“Our protest policy is designed to focus limited prosecution resources on violent crimes that include property damage, assaultive behavior and actions that create a risk of injury or property destruction during a mass demonstration,” a spokesman for the DA’s office wrote in an email to KOIN 6 News.

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