State Police Exit Portland After 2 Wks 08/14 06:10
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon State Police are leaving Portland after a
two-week assignment to help protect a federal courthouse that's been a target
of protesters during months of conflict in Oregon's largest city.
The state police are "continually reassessing our resources and the needs of
our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources
back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,"
Capt. Timothy R. Fox told television stations. "Last night was our last night
Nights of unrest that increasingly targeted the Mark O. Hatfield U.S.
Courthouse previously prompted President Donald Trump to dispatch U.S. agents
to guard the building in July, which reinvigorated Black Lives Matter
demonstrations and often ended in violent clashes.
The U.S. agents started drawing down in late July under an agreement between
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown that
included state troopers taking their place for two weeks.
Earlier this week, newly elected Multnomah County District Attorney Mike
Schmidt decided not to prosecute people arrested for non-violent misdemeanors.
Since the protests began, over 500 people have been arrested. So far, fewer
than 50 are being prosecuted.
Schmidt has said the new policy recognizes the outrage and frustration over
a history of racial injustice that has led to the protests as well as practical
realities of the court system, which is running months behind in processing
cases because of COVID-19.
Demonstrators returned to the courthouse Wednesday night and clashes
continued into the early morning hours Thursday as some people threw objects as
well as set off fireworks and police used tear gas on the crowd, authorities
said. Two protesters were arrested and one officer suffered a hand wound
described as serious.
It wasn't clear what the departure of the state police will mean at the
federal courthouse as demonstrations continue against police violence and
systemic racism. Fox said state police will reassess if Portland police need