As the Biden administration has taken the reins of the Department of Justice, the feds have dismissed dozens of charges against violent rioters in Portland, Oregon. They have dropped charges such as assault on a law enforcement officer, arson, and other violent crimes. Many have been dropped with prejudice, meaning they can’t be re-litigated in the future. According to a local news outlet, federal prosecutors have dismissed more than one-third of the pending charges from last summer’s violent protests in Portland.
KGW News reported:
Federal prosecutors have dismissed more than one-third of cases stemming from last summer’s violent protests in downtown Portland, when protesters clashed with federal agents. KGW reviewed federal court records and found 31 of the 90 protest cases have been dismissed by the U.S. Department of Justice, including a mix of misdemeanor and felony charges.
Some of the most serious charges dropped include four defendants charged with assaulting a federal officer, which is a felony. More than half of the dropped charges were “dismissed with prejudice,” which several former federal prosecutors described as extremely rare. “Dismissed with prejudice” means the case can’t be brought back to court.
The outgoing U.S. attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, said in an interview that nobody in their right mind thinks this is OK.
The KGW report also indicates that more dismissals may be on the way, as several sources in the law enforcement community told them they expect this is just the first round.
The Department of Justice stepped in as riots terrorized Portland throughout the summer of 2020, and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced he would not prosecute most riot crimes committed in Portland. After Attorney General William Barr instructed federal prosecutors to aggressively pursue rioters across the country, Williams said in a press release:
Local residents and anyone traveling to Portland with the intent to commit violence are on notice. There will be consequences for acts of violence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting people who impede or assault law enforcement officers, damage federal property, and set fire to buildings. Make no mistake: those who commit violence in the name of protest, will be investigated, arrested, prosecuted, and face prison time. Already more than 100 people have been arrested and more than 80 people are facing federal charges related to protest violence.
The local news report takes great pains to quote those involved who claim that these decisions were not motivated by politics, but rather by limited resources, large caseloads, COVID-19, and other factors. It strains credulity, however, to think a new direction has not taken hold among the federal law enforcement system as a new president has taken over and begun reversing every Trump agenda item it can target.
President Trump very publicly made law and order a theme of his reelection campaign, and a centerpiece of his agenda to get America back on track. With this quiet, under-the-radar move to cease the pursuit of justice for violent riot crimes, the Biden administration is sending a subtle, yet very clear, opposite message. To the new administration, law and order are selective, arbitrary, and dependent upon the politics of the offender.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.