Criminal charges against dozens of Portland protesters dropped, including felony arrests

Court records show 59 people arrested during Portland demonstrations had charges dismissed, including several people arrested on felony charges.

WATCH:

KGW8 reports dozens of protesters arrested during mass demonstrations in downtown Portland have had their criminal charges dropped and cases closed.

KGW analysis of police and court records shows the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office dropped charges against at least 59 of the roughly 400 protesters arrested since mass demonstrations started in Portland in late May.

Most of the dropped charges were misdemeanor offenses such as interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Nine cases dismissed by prosecutors involved more serious felony charges, including riot, arson and theft in the first degree.

In one case, Portland police arrested a 25-year-old protester for allegedly setting fire to a Chase Bank in downtown Portland on May 30, the second night of large-scale protests in the city. The Portland resident was charged with arson, criminal mischief and riot. KGW is not naming the person because charges have been dismissed.

A Multnomah County prosecutor described in a probable cause affidavit how the person bragged about using a Molotov cocktail to start the fire and talked about plans to go “out on another mission and the goal would be to set another fire.” When confronted by detectives, the person admitted being present when the fire started but denied setting it, according to the court documents.

A Multnomah County grand jury heard evidence in the case and declined to return an indictment. All charges were dropped.

It is not clear why other cases were closed.

Charges can be filed later if they are submitted within the statute of limitations – the time limit allowed by law.

Prosecutors sometimes delay filing because they need additional investigation or police reports have not been forwarded to the DA’s office.

Through a spokesperson, retiring Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill declined to comment.