Imagine you’re a police officer who is stepping in to help a local police department quell civil unrest, the kind of unrest that’s been a nightly occurrence for weeks upon weeks. Now imagine that the local district attorney decides he’s not going to prosecute people you arrest for injuring your fellow officers because he says it’s your own faults they did it.
How would you respond?
My guess is that you wouldn’t be too inclined to help.
For what it’s worth, that was the official position of the Oregon State Police last week.
The Oregon State Police is ending its agreement to help Portland police protect the Hatfield Federal Courthouse, the scene of many of the protests over the past 76 nights.
The 2-week agreement was struck between Gov. Kate Brown and Vice President Mike Pence to get federal officers out of Portland after weeks of violent confrontations with protesters. But the violent protests are back and there is a growing split over whether those arrested will be charged.
KOIN 6 News learned the reason they’re ending their agreement is because they are angry over new Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s decision not to prosecute most of those arrested.
Since the protests began in Portland more than 75 nights ago, more than 500 people have been arrested. So far, less than 50 are being prosecuted.
In a statement, the Oregon State Police said:
“The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority.”
Asked if OSP troopers would be pulling out of Portland immediately, officials told KOIN 6 News the answer is yes.
Well…that’s pretty blunt.
Honestly, I don’t blame them. Every agency has limited resources, after all, so it makes strategic sense to use them where they can be the most effective. In the case of a state agency that’s helping a local government, that means pulling out if local officials refuse to prosecute those who they arrest. Why waste resources when nothing will come of it?
That’s especially true when the DA in question basically said he doesn’t care if officers get hurt. Their officers.
It’s not rocket science here. Anyone with half a brain knows why the OSP pulled out and anyone with half a brain can imagine the impact. Especially since OSP began protecting the federal courthouse in an effort to quell the outrage over the Department of Homeland Security doing their actual jobs.
Now, the attacks against the federal building in Portland seems to have died down for the most part, which means it might not be that big of an issue, but there’s been something of an upsurge in “protests” around the building. Without OSP there, that means DHS will likely fill that roll.
We know how that will go over, now don’t we.
The district attorney’s decision, while likely to play well with the mob, isn’t doing any favors for the Portland Police Department, though, and expect that to play out in the future. In fact, watching how the department and the DA’s office interact should be…interesting.