Torching on at Portland protests

There was plenty more of the usual nonsense at the Portland Protests last night. It went down at the police union office on Lombard. I will spare you the details, because they're all familiar. But here's a highlight reel.

Several fires were set up against the exterior walls of the building, which fortunately didn't catch. The police put the fires out. They cops' nightly charges included the use of tear gas. A hostile guy in a Caddy was driving through the crowd looking for trouble.

To me, the news, if there was any, was the substantial number of arrests: 25. The night before there were 23. Both of those are up from Saturday night's 14

Few of those arrested seem likely to be prosecuted for the offenses with which they've been charged: interfering with a police officer, resisting arrest, etc. In fact, the rookie county district attorney made the front page of yesterday's New York Times with his policy of not pressing charges that don't include property damage or assault on a person.

So it's basically a catch-and-release game now. But the cops appear eager to play.

There's an interesting civil rights question lurking somewhere in that state of affairs. Should the police be arresting people when there is no chance of their actually being prosecuted for breaking the law? What is the purpose of an arrest if not placing the individual into the criminal justice system? Maybe it's just part of Portland's proud weirdness.

In any event, nobody has been busted for arson, or attempted arson, that I can see.  Or even for vandalism. Some process on the those fronts is long overdue.

But I did stumble across this the other day. The FBI is looking for people who they say were involved in breaking into the Justice Center and setting fires there back at the end of May. The cops have some pretty good photos of the people, and are asking for information. Interesting that the FBI is involved; this is the first I've seen of their participation:

Do you think any of these individuals are responsible for the fires at more recent protests? How many arsonists does Portlandia have?


  1. Backlash building ...

  2. We’re really getting into Weimar Republic street gang fighting stuff now — frightening.


  3. The lack of law enforcement is only to be expected. The police are busy, and indicate, albeit only anecdotally that they are too busy to respond to reports of potential crime. Speaking of law and order, Governor Brown’s Order 20-27 provides that those who don’t comply with the Covid 19 protocols can be cited for a class c misdemeanor. How about the group of estimated 300 plus who held a rally in downtown Portland without masks. See Have you heard of anyone cited for failure to wear a mask or congregating in larger groups than 25? The protesters wear masks, but don’t keep the 6 feet of social distance, but then neither do the police. Citing for violations of the Governor’s order would give the Portland police something else to charge the protesters with and we could tie up the Multnomah County courts, the assistant district attorneys, and the police even more!

    How about the use of illegal fireworks on July 4th ? I called the police non-emergency line 5 times and each time my call was dropped as I was trying to report my neighbor who was keeping me up with loud explosive fireworks all night long and also shooting off skyrockets that went into my tall Douglas Fir trees in my backyard. I guess that I could have waited until a fire actually started, and only then called 911 and/or the fire department. But then July 4th comes but once a year. I went to ask my neighbors a block up at 3:00 am to please stop the fireworks, but given that they were not wearing masks, and had lots of open bottles of beer and liquor I thought that I should just walk home without saying a word.

    You say “There's an interesting civil rights question lurking somewhere in [sic] [the] state of affairs. Should the police be arresting people when there is no chance of their actually being prosecuted for breaking the law?” Yes they should arrest them, cite them, issue a bench warrant if they fail to make their first appearance, let them all plead not guilty and ask for a jury trial and for legal counsel, and then maybe drop the charges. I mean the Multnomah County Circuit Court and the DA’s office and the police and all the public defenders have nothing to do just now, do they? (Sarcasm!) But as you say, “it's basically a catch-and-release game now. But the cops appear eager to play …”


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