MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Since taking office in August, new Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has been at the center of controversy around his decision not to charge certain people arrested at protests.

In an interview with FOX 12, Schmidt defended his policy, saying his priority is prosecuting people who are actually committing crimes.

According to data made public by Schmidt's office, just over 1,000 protest-related criminal cases have been referred to his office by local law enforcement. Only 138 cases have gone forward so far, and nearly 700 cases were rejected.

"Mainly, the fact pattern we see is people are asked to go home, either they don't, or they don't go home fast enough," Schmidt said. "Those are the majority of the cases where we're saying we're going to focus our resources on the folks that are actually doing harm."

574 cases have been rejected "in the interest of justice."

In those cases, the DA's office chose not to proceed with criminal charges based on compelling factors or circumstances. In 51 cases that were rejected, people were arrested for rioting and one or more misdemeanor crime.

In ongoing protests, Multnomah Co. DA to focus 'on the folks that are actually doing harm'

KPTV image.

"The crime of riot in Oregon is defined as when five or more people are engaged in tumultuous behavior," Schmidt said. "So, at any one of these protest events where there are five or so bad actors who are throwing things at police or lighting things on fire, anybody in the crowd could be subject to an arrest for felony riot, whether they were the ones doing the damage or not. We have said if you are the person who is throwing things, lighting things on fire, we'll absolutely prosecute you for the crime of riot. However, if you are just a person who is there, you're not a person who we have any evidence is actually engaging in that behavior, we're not going to charge you with a felony for standing there."

The District Attorney's charging policies for people arrested at protests have been criticized by the Portland Police Association and questioned by Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese.

Schmidt said he will continue working to build better relationships with both the police and sheriff's department.

Data on cases related to protests is publicly available here.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Locations

Recommended for you

(19) comments

PDX2MtHood

As delusional as everyone else in power in Oregon.

Delta85

So Oregonians, we have an important measure we are voting on. Keep big money out our politics... This gentlemen was given thousands of outside Oregon money to win his job. Why do we want people of NYC telling us who they want to be the DA of Multnomah county. If you take money you must show where it came.... There are only two states that allow this and Oregon is one of them. Why is that? I mean Oregon already cheats at mail in voting why do they need outside Oregon money?

Frederick Fukov

Mike Schmidt reminds me of one of the boy scouts they're talking about on the multitude of "Sue the Boy Scouts of America" commercials.

Joaquin

That is, Soros would be proud

Delta85

BOOM you hit the nail..... Outside Oregon money paid for this guy to win!

Joaquin

Soros would pe proud

Frederick Fukov

You Mikey..you colossal tool, if you wanna arrest and prosecute the ones who are "doing the most harm," try staring with yourself.

nativepdx

Without the rule of Law, the city is slipping in to lawlessness and is supported by this DA and democrats in charge.

Businesses cannot survive without the rule of law, while illegal mobs are allowed to run the city in the night and deciding they do not need city permits to block streets and riot.

The city has spent billions in subsidies to create downtown Portland and it is all going away with the mobs, supported by this DA.

commentor

'In ongoing protests, Multnomah Co. DA to focus 'on the folks that are actually doing harm' I believe that come February 2021, the DA is subject to a recall vote.

Manazuma

I am wondering if I and a few of my friends go to this persons home what could we do on his property and not have to worry about being prosecuted? Rip up the lawn, throw paint, feeces, break windows? Yell obscenities all night? Time to take the problems to the people in charge.

webjak

Portlanders get what they voted for, an ineffective liberal twit.

ORChick

That's disingenuous and presumes that all we Portlanders voted for him, Wheeler, and Brown which is NOT the case.

Erik Erlow Eeckhart

focus 'on the folks that are actually doing harm' Well then he can put himself in jail. Is he serious? When was the last time he walked downtown, actually saw the rioters burning buildings, destroying property, attacking police, those are not crimes?

missy1220

Only in Portland. 🤭

Roberto Estrello Demar

So, providing aid and comfort to destructive persons, encouragement and abetting to those engaged in vandalism and larceny, and engaging in public ridicule of those who serve and protect apparently do not rise to his floor of the ivory tower that has become Portland's "progressive" political structure. He is not doing his job and should refund to the taxpayers every cent that he has taken by pretending to fill his position. Every time people like this sign their paychecks they are stealing from the public, from people who have less than themselves and who are being robbed at the point of weapons from City Hall. That being said, I am voting for the worthless cull we presently have as Mayor for one reason only; the insurgent candidate is worse.

Frederick Fukov

There's no argument there. And spare me your protest votes for Broussard or any other write-in candidate. No write-in has chance, and a vote for anyone other than Wheeler, is a vote for Iannarone.

ItsPolitical

"In an interview with FOX 12, Schmidt defended his policy, saying his priority is prosecuting people who are actually committing crimes." So, will he prosecute Wheeler, Hardesty, Brown, Kotex and Eudaly?

Frederick Fukov

Uhh..that's "Kotek," but I see what you did there.

WebFootSTi

Our new DA is a real piece of "work"...

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.