The Department of Justice announced last week it had arrested 18 people on federal charges for their actions during protests and riots that have engulfed Portland for weeks at a federal courthouse.
The US attorney for Oregon stated that the federal charges related to alleged criminal misconduct near the Hatfield Courthouse. The federal property has been attacked by protestors for weeks and is being guarded by federal officers from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.
The 18 protestors are being charged with assaulting federal officers, property damage, arson, trespassing on federal property, and failing to comply with lawful orders. All of the accused have made their initial appearances in federal court and were released pending trials and other legal proceedings, DOJ stated in a press release.
Protests and Violence Have Raged in Portland for 60 Days
According to federal court documents, protests have gone on for 60 days and have been usually followed at night by criminal activity. These activities include assaulting police officers, destruction of federal property, arson, and vandalism.
DOJ added in its statement that US Marsh Service officers and deputies from Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection attempting to protect the courthouse have been threatened each night and assaulted by demonstrated as they performed their duties.
The arrests on federal charges come as scrutiny is increasing on the federal response to the Portland riots and protests. Law enforcement officers have been doxed and assaulted, some Democrats and other state and federal officials have said that federal law enforcement has made the situation worse.
Nancy Pelosi Calls Federal Officers ‘Stormtroopers’
DHS and DOJ inspectors have been looking into their agencies’ actions in Portland. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, has accused the Trump administration of bringing ‘stormtroopers’ into Portland.
That remark was blessed by Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf as ‘dangerous.’ Wolf added that Pelosi’s words are an assault on federal law enforcement officers who take an oath to protect federal property and their communities.
He also noted that calling federal law enforcement stormtroopers is absurd because they are enforcing federal law, which are statutes passed by Congress, including by Pelosi herself.
The Department of Homeland Security has been given the authority to guard and protect federal facilities. They are legally authorized to make arrests of people that are engaging in criminal acts that target federal property and law enforcement officers.
DOJ Website Lists Those Charged and Their Alleged Crimes
The DOJ website states that five people in Portland were charged for criminal conduct that allegedly occurred on July 20, 2020.
They are: Jennifer Kristiansen, 37, is charged with assaulting a federal officer; Zachary Duffly, 45, is charged with creating a disturbance; Wyatt Ash-Milby, 18, is charged with trespassing on federal property; and Caleb Ehlers, 23, and Paul Furst, 22, are charged with failing to comply with a lawful order.
Seven people were charged for criminal conduct that allegedly occurred on July 21: Jerusalem Callahan, 24, is charged with willfully damaging government property; Joseph Ybarra, 21, is charged with arson; Marnie Sager, 27, and Ella Miller, 26, are charged failing to comply with a lawful order; and Taylor Lemons, 31; Giovanni Bondurant, 19; and Gabriel Houston, 22, are charged with assaulting federal officers.
Six people were charged for criminal conduct that allegedly occurred on July 22: Joseph Lagalo, 37; Baily Dreibelbis, 22; Nicholas Kloiber, 26; David Hazan, 24; Hailey Holden, 30; and Cameron Knuetson, age unknown, are charged with failing to comply with a lawful order.
US Attorney For Portland Rips Portland Officials
The US Attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, told a local newspaper over the weekend that Portland officials were engaging in political theater by not allowing city police to work with federal agents and swore the US government would never abandon any federal building in the city to rioters and criminals.
Williams told The Oregonian that anyone who believes the federal government will give up the courthouse is kidding themselves. “We are not leaving,’ Williams said.
Critics of the federal response in Portland claim that federal officers are ‘kidnapping’ protestors, a charge that Williams did not comment on.
But he did vigorously defend federal agents’ presence in Portland. He said they would be there until violent criminals stopped trying to destroy the courthouse.
He added that until the federal courthouse is left alone, the government will do what needs to be done to protect it.
Also, US Marshal Russel Burger talked about why federal officers use tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. He told The Oregonian that these non-lethal measures are used to keep the federal officers in a defensive posture. Officers rarely leave the courthouse unless rioters try to start fires or tear down the fence around the building.
- 18 Arrested in Portland on Federal Charges. Accessed at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/doj-arrests-18-portland-alleged-property-damage-assaults-on-police
- Pelosi Calls Federal Law Enforcement Officers Stormtroopers. Accessed at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/dhs-chief-pelosi-federal-law-enforcement-stormtroopers
- 18 Arrested Facing Federal Charges After Weekend Protests. Accessed at https://www.justice.gov/usao-or/pr/18-arrested-facing-federal-charges-after-weeknight-protests-federal-courthouse-portland
- US Attorney for Oregon Talks About Portland Protests. Accessed at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/us-attorney-for-oregon-interview-on-portland-protests