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Fires set inside Portland federal courthouse fence; 18 arrested on federal charges

Portland federal courthouse
U.S. Attorney's Office/file
Aftermath of nights of violence at federal courthouse in downtown Portland in late July

Feds say 18 arrests so far, before Thursday night incidents

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Another night of fiery confrontation was reported late Thursday and early Friday in downtown Portland, with fires set both inside and outside the fence surrounding the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse, police said.

Here's the full Portland Police Bureau news release:

Fires and Criminal Activity outside the Federal Courthouse
Portland Police Bureau - 07/24/20 2:48 AM

In the evening hours of July 23, 2020, a large group of more than a thousand people gathered on Southwest 3rd Avenue outside of the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse in Downtown Portland. For several hours, the group blocked traffic, and vocalized in demonstration.

At 11 p.m., group members began setting fires inside the fence that protects the Federal Courthouse. Several other people were seen shaking the fence, launching projectiles over the fence, and using different tools to try and dissemble the fence. Several people breeched the fence and Federal Police Officers came out to disperse the crowd. As Federal Police Officers dispersed the group they were hit with large projectiles, various incendiaries, and flashed with lasers.

By 1 a.m., a couple hundred people returned to the fence protecting the Federal Courthouse. These people continued to set fires, cut and breech the fence, and launch commercial grade fireworks towards the Federal Courthouse. The Federal Police Officers once again exited the Federal Court house and dispersed the crowd.

Although the Federal Police dispersed the crowd, several people remained in the streets around the area of the Federal Courthouse and engaged in violent and criminal behavior. Because of this, at 1:58 a.m., Portland Police issued public address announcements declaring an unlawful assembly. The announcements instructed the group to leave the area, moving to the north and the west. Many people stayed in the area and continued to light fires, and destruct federal courthouse property.

Over the next several hours, the group slowly dissipated.

With the exception of the sound truck announcements, Portland Police were not present during any of the activity described. Portland Police did not engage with any crowds and did not deploy any CS gas. No arrests were made by Portland Police.

News release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon:

 Arrested, Facing Federal Charges After Weeknight Protests at Federal Courthouse in Portland (Photo)
U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon - 07/24/20 8:59 AM

Please note: this release will be updated to include arrests and charges from the July 23-24, 2020 overnight.

Charges include assaulting federal officers, arson, and damaging government property

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that 18 people have been arrested and are facing federal charges this week for their roles in recent weeknight protests at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland.

According to court documents, since May 26, 2020, protests in downtown Portland have been followed by nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism. The Hatfield Federal Courthouse has been a nightly target of vandalism during evening protests and riots, sustaining extensive damage.

U.S. Marshals Service deputies and officers from the Federal Protective Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection working to protect the courthouse have been subjected to nightly threats and assaults from demonstrators while performing their duties.

Five people have been charged for alleged criminal conduct during a protest beginning July 20, 2020 and continuing into the early morning hours of July 21, 2020. 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 have been charged for alleged criminal conduct during a protest beginning July 21, 2020 and continuing into the early morning hours of July 22, 2020. 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 have been charged for alleged criminal conduct during a protest beginning July 22, 2020 and continuing into the early morning hours of July 23, 2020. 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.

All defendants are presumed to be local residents.

All 18 defendants have made their first appearances in federal court and were ordered released pending jury trials or other follow-up court proceedings.

These cases are being jointly investigated the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Protective Service. They are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Criminal complaints and informations are only accusations of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Portland FBI statement:

“The FBI’s role is to investigate violent crime and hold those accountable who are engaging in violent acts or significant destruction of property. Our investigations involve specific violations of federal law, including arson, the use of improvised explosive devices, and interstate transportation of stolen goods. The Portland FBI seeks to work closely with our local law enforcement partners to ensure the community is safe and people are free to exercise their First Amendment rights in a peaceful manner.  

The FBI can never initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on individuals who commit violence and criminal activity that constitutes a federal crime or poses a threat to national security. The FBI does not and will not police ideology."

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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