State Police Exit Portland After 2 Wks 08/14 06:10

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 
in Portland."

   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 
assistance.

© 2020 CHS Inc.