The saga continued in Portland this week, as the Oregon State Police announced Thursday that it would be pulling approximately 100 troopers back from their assignments to assist both federal and Portland police officers in defending downtown justice buildings from the nightly riots in the state’s largest city.
The OSP contingent had been part of a prior agreement between Governor Kate Brown and the Trump administration that led to a phased withdrawal of federal officers from Portland — something protesters had demanded for weeks after their use of force and alleged unconstitutional arrests had drawn increasing criticism from the public and elected officials alike.
According to The Oregonian and other Portland media outlets, OSP’s decision to pull back was based, at least in part, on Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s announcement that he won’t pursue many of the charges against demonstrators, including disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer and even, in some circumstances, rioting.
On Friday, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, of Canby, called on the governor to take action and, essentially, do what Schmidt has said he will not.
“I urge Governor Kate Brown to step in and use her executive authority to appoint a special prosecutor,” Drazan said. “It is time for the Governor to stand up for the enforcement of Oregon’s laws and ensure the prosecution of those who have harmed the cause of equality.”
Drazan said Schmidt’s decision equates to Oregon’s laws being “weighed in the balance of his personal political judgment.”
“This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent,” she said. “These aren’t victimless crimes and this decision must not go unanswered. Violence and vandalism must not be allowed to continue in Portland or anywhere else in our state.”
The House Republican leader also applauded the state troopers for their service in Portland over the past two weeks.
“As troopers return to their regular duties across Oregon, I thank them for their service and willingness to stand in the gap in Portland to protect the right to protest and restore order to a city determined to condone violence,” she said. “Unfortunately, this isn’t an end to the chaos.”