While committing his office to restorative justice (prioritizing the rehabilitation and restoration of criminals rather than law and order) and indulging anarchist rioting, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt is aggressively pursuing criminal convictions against cops, having charged one for assault for an extra baton strike on a rioter, referred two so far to the state Department of Justice and promising more. Schmidt even asked for help from rioters in identifying cases:
Schmidt said his office has faced challenges investigating the numerous complaints about police violence at protests, including identifying and contacting the victims. Reaching out to victims, he said, is usually necessary for assault investigations where it’s difficult to determine the level of harm or injury just from watching a video.
“I can’t say specifically how many we’re looking at, but when people are interested in reporting and there’s evidence there, we review it and decide whether or not to go forward,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt can’t trust his prosecutors. Having no real experience as a prosecutor and coming out of the Soros lab he sent police and prosecutors flying to support his opponent, an assistant DA, when he won a solid majority in the first contested district attorney’s election in a long time. The national project to install progressive DAs nationwide picked their target well here, or couldn’t lose. Naïve Portlanders voted in Schmidt without the expectation the world would be turned upside down because of a police homicide in Minneapolis. Whether deliberate or not, the wave of BLM-ready district attorneys preceding the riots came as the one in the ol’ one-two punch. Unappreciated is the damage done to the relationship between cops and prosecutors, which Schmidt is earnestly hacking away at.
The second case referred to our DOJ was sent back by Attorney General Rosenbaum. Undeterred, and in a first, the DA hired a criminal defense attorney from a private practice to lead the investigation.
In that case on the night of May 31 of last year, as the city was engulfed in its second night of rioting on behalf of George Floyd, a cop from the city of Gresham filling in for the understaffed Portland Police shot and killed a man he said was trying to run him over with his car. The incident was lost in all the hysteria because the deceased is white.
A county grand jury, reviewing body-cam footage (which would not have been available if a Portland cop were involved as they don’t wear them; police abolitionists here aren’t enthusiastic about body-cams, probably because of cases like this) nonetheless refused to return an indictment.
Meanwhile, Schmidt’s vague reference to more cases comes as a threat to cops and his implicit call for public help to root out “bad” cops can’t be helping police morale, which is running out of room down below. And I’m wondering now if Schmidt, or someone managing him, is going to start looking for a way around citizen grand juries.
In Portland, they’re winning, despite this minor setback.