DA pursues riot, laser charges against more Portland protesters


Protests have largely stalled due to unhealthy air quality in Portland

People walk past a burning pile of debris near NW 10th and Glisan during the 95th night of protests in Portland, Aug. 31, 2020. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s protest streak has ended, with demonstrations becoming scarcer and less confrontational, but the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is still announcing new charges against those arrested at previous events.

Wednesday, the DA’s office announced it would pursue charges against two more protesters.

Kason O’Connor, 28, is accused of shining a green laser “directly into the eyes” of two officers on July 13 near the Portland Police Association building on North Lombard. O’Connor is charged with two counts of unlawful directing of light from a laser pointer.

The DA’s office also announced charges Wednesday against 50-year-old Christopher Joseph Babb, who was arrested after an unlawful assembly August 31 outside Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s presumed home in the Pearl District.

Christopher Joseph Babb, 50, was arrested after an unlawful assembly August 31 outside Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s presumed home in the Pearl District (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Police declared a riot after some people damaged property and started a fire inside a business, according to the DA’s office. Crowd members threw objects including glass bottles, large rocks, paint-filled balloons, and full beverage cans at officers, according to police.

An officer ran toward a man later identified as Babb and knocked him down, then kept going, according to court documents. Then Babb allegedly got up and threw an unknown object toward the officer, according to court documents.

Babb now faces charges of riot (a felony), disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.

Poor air quality in Portland caused the nightly demonstrations to subside shortly after passing the 100 night milestone.

The most recent demonstration happened last Saturday. Some 75-100 people marched to the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center in Northeast Portland, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The event lasted about an hour, with people giving speeches before leaving without incident.

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