On Sunday, police arrested a man who confessed to starting a brush fire with a Molotov cocktail in Portland. They booked him in Multnomah County Jail. Portland being Portland, the authorities released the suspect that evening. The man then went on to start six more fires before the police arrested him yet again. The cops took him to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
“On Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:35p.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched to assist Portland Fire and Rescue with a brush fire in the 9600 block of East Burnside Street,” the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) reported. “Officers saw that a section of grass along the I-205 freeway was burning. Firefighters extinguished the fire. No one was injured and no structures were damaged.”
A witness identified a suspect in a nearby tent and “officers arrested the suspect, who confirmed he lit the fire with the device,” a Molotov cocktail.
Officers booked 45-year-old Domingo Lopez Jr. into jail on charges of Reckless Burning and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree. “Arson investigators are also doing a follow-up to see if other charges are warranted.”
A reasonable person might expect the story to end there. The suspect confessed to the crime, the cops booked him in jail and got him off the streets. With a little time and some well-deserved punishment, the arsonist might reconsider his destructive ways. After all, the Pacific Northwest is undergoing a particularly harsh fire season, and fires near Portland have discolored the sky with smoke.
The story did not end there, however. Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has notoriously taken the side of violent antifa rioters against the police they attack, and he announced that his office would not prosecute many riot-related crimes, even when some of those crimes endanger the lives of police officers. Perhaps that attitude helps explain why Domingo Lopez Jr. left jail on Sunday evening. Apparently, the suspect had enough time on his hands to set a whopping six more fires before the police again detained him.
“A suspect arrested last evening for starting a brush fire was arrested again after he started 6 more small fires,” PPB reported. Officers went to capture Lopez at 3:37 a.m. on Monday morning, joining Portland Fire and Rescue to put out many fires “along the west side of the I-205 freeway,” an area along the same freeway Lopez had targeted hours before.
“Portland Fire and Rescue extinguished three of them while passing community members put out the other three. All were caught early. No one was injured and no structures were burnt,” the police reported. Officers again arrested Lopez, seizing a lighter as evidence.
“Lopez was transported to a hospital on a Police Officer Hold for a mental health evaluation. He was issued citations for 6 additional counts of Reckless Burning,” PPB added.
This is what happens when authorities release dangerous criminals — they commit more crimes and endanger more people. Yet activists want to abolish the police?
This madness needs to end.
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.