Seventy-four face federal charges from Portland protests
Associated Press•August 27, 2020
A march on the Portland police union headquarters drew a rapid police response after someone set a fire next to the building. Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Seventy-four people are now facing federal charges related to protests that have rocked Portland, Oregon, for three months since George Floyd was killed, the local U.S. attorney announced Thursday.
The misdemeanor and felony charges include assaults on federal officers, arson and damaging federal property.
“Violent agitators have hijacked any semblance of First Amendment protected activity, engaging in violent criminal acts and destruction of public safety,” Billy Williams, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, said in a statement.
Portland has been gripped by nightly protests since the police killing of Floyd in Minneapolis. The demonstrations, often violent, usually target police buildings and federal buildings. Some protesters have called for reductions in police budgets while the city’s mayor and some in the Black community have decried the violence, saying it’s counterproductive.
Protesters and U.S. agents assigned to protect federal property in Portland clashed late Wednesday outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in another night of violence.
Some people in a crowd of about 200 disabled or vandalized building security cameras, shined laser lights at the agents and threw rocks and bottles at them, Portland police said in a statement issued Thursday. A federal agent was injured after being hit in the leg by a rock, and police made 11 arrests, police said.
Portland’s FBI chief on