We discussed the way the plea arrangement using a BLM protester (who attempted to cut the brake lines on a police vehicle) may indicate a significant change from the Trump Administration in prosecuting violent protesters. New figures from Portland would suggest that there is such a major change occurring.
I previously criticized that the federalization of those protest cases. Local authorities were certainly relying on the federal government — as opposed to their own local prosecutors — to address violent protesters. Yet I was also critical of the role of local officials in ignoring and in some cases fueling such violence by using their rhetoric or even inaction. There is obviously a reluctance by most local officials to prosecute violent protesters. The majority of the charges brought for violent protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd have been disregarded.
One of these defendants who saw their charges dropped in Portland was David Bouchard who admitted that he place a Customs and Border Protection officer at a chokehold. Furthermore, the Justice Department ignored the complaint from Charles Comfort who was indicted by a grand jury of civil disorder for double charging at Portland Police Bureau officers and hitting them with a makeshift shield and kicking a third officer.
Yet again, I remain opposed to utilizing federal fees in many of these local circumstances, however, the choice was to chase these folks in the federal system. Now they will walk without any prosecution. There are allegedly 31 deferred settlement agreements (DRA) signed from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, including 19 charged with felonies and a number involving alleged assaults on federal officers.
We saw a belated change at the rhetoric of some leaders such as Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler finally condemning anarchists (though he prevented specifically mentioning Portland’s homegrown Antifa band ). While these leaders previously imputed the Trump Administration for the protests, they have continued unabated after the election, including continued rioting in Portland.