On Thursday it was announced by US Attorney Billy J. Williams that 74 people are facing federal charges for crimes committed during or "under the guise of" peaceful protests in Portland.
A list of people with the federal charges against them was released by the Department of Justice.
All of the charges have been laid since May 29, 2020 as riots and protests have been occurring in the city for over 90 consecutive nights. Law enforcement has been working to protect many private and public buildings as they have been the target of destruction and vandalism.
Authorities have arrested 100 people since May 26 for crimes that took place during the demonstrations. The 74 who are facing charges are allegedly responsible for crimes such as assault on federal officers, some resulting in serious injuries; failing to obey lawful orders; arson and attempted arson; damaging federal government property; unlawful use of a drone and more.
"Violent agitators have hijacked any semblance of First Amendment protected activity, engaging in violent criminal acts and destruction of public safety," U.S. Attorney Williams noted. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners are expeditiously working with local and state law enforcement to identify, arrest, and prosecute these individuals that are disrupting the rule of law in our communities and physically attacking our law enforcement officers and destroying property."
"Violent agitators not only delay real reform, but make our community less safe by keeping law enforcement from responding to other critical calls for service."
Citation violations have been issued to 11 others and all of the defendants are thought to be local residents.
"While the FBI supports and safeguards Constitutionally-protected activity and civil rights, there is no permit for assault, arson or property damage and these are not victimless crimes," noted Renn Cannon who is the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Among the victims of violent crime are business owners, residents and individuals exercising their First Amendment rights through protests or other legitimate forms of expression."
Many of the charges that have been laid against the violent agitators include serious maximum prison sentences. Felony assault of a federal officer with a dangerous weapon for example, can result in as many as 20 years in prison. Arson is also punishable by as many as 20 years and carries a minimum sentence of five years.