FILE PHOTO: Federal lawmakers return to the interior of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in the United States after setting fire to a demonstration against police violence and racial inequality in Portland, Oregon, US, August 2, 2020. REUTERS / Caitlin Ox
(Reuters) – Oregon State Police on Thursday said they were withdrawing protection from the Portland Federal Courthouse over frustration at a prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute many people arrested in protests there.
State police were deployed in Portland two weeks ago under an agreement between Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Vice President Mike Pence to withdraw federal agents after weeks of clashes with Protestants. President Donald Trump has threatened to send National Guard troops to Portland, as requested by Oregon authorities, if local law could not protect the federal court.
Oregon State Police are “continuously reconsidering our resources and the needs of our partner agencies, and at this time we are envious of returning resources to counties where criminal prosecution is still a priority,” a spokesman said. Timothy Fox in a statement.
Police are angry over Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s decision not to prosecute many people who were arrested during weeks of protests at the courthouse, Fox said.
Schmidt said Tuesday that he would only arrest prosecutors against protesters for assault, theft or damage to property in Portland protests that began in late May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Schmidt signaled that he would strike down lesser accusations such as insurrection and harassment.
“If we harness the full force of the criminal justice system on individuals who peacefully protest and demand to be heard, we will cause their irreparable damage individually and to our society,” Schmidt said in a statement.
Report by Andrew Hay; Additional Report by Deborah Bloom, Peter Szekely, and Aishwarya Nair; Edited by Tom Hogue and