Cogan Law Office Supports The Protesters Who Are Demonstrating In Favor Of BLACK LIVES MATTER And Opposing Police Brutality
For too long, the police in this community and elsewhere have committed horrific acts of violence against people of color, without consequences.
Here in Portland, persons of color whose lives were ended by police acts of violence include 21 year old Kendra James in 2003, 24 year old Terrell Johnson in 2017, and 45 year old Jason Washington in 2018. These people left family members to mourn, and yet the police officers who took their lives were never prosecuted. Our entire community has been wounded by senseless acts of violence committed by the police.
Happily, Multnomah County recently elected a new District Attorney, Mike Schmidt, who pledges to bring about significant reforms. Portland also has a new Police Chief, whom we hope will lead the Police Bureau in a new direction.
It should surprise none of us that the Murder of George Floyd struck a nerve in this community. For the past 12 days and nights, protesters have taken to the streets of Portland, and some 430 other cities and towns throughout Oregon, to show support for BLACK LIVES MATTER, and to oppose police brutality. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, these protesters have placed themselves and their loved ones in harm’s way, for the love of their brothers and sisters of color who have been abused by the police. We salute the protesters.
Unfortunately, the police have arrested approximately 200 protesters, many on very minor charges such as Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, and Interfering With a Peace Officer. It is very offensive that protesters would face criminal prosecution while police officers who have taken the lives of people of color continue to walk free.
As to the vast majority of these arrests, we fully anticipate that, once these cases are reviewed by the District Attorney, the State will decline to prosecute. The reason is that the protesters have the right under the First Amendment to speak out, and to denounce racism and police brutality, and advocate for sorely needed reforms in law enforcement. When the protesters face trial before a jury of their peers, many will undoubtedly be found Not Guilty. We are confident that the District Attorney will recognize that the vast majority of the protesters should not be prosecuted.
Nevertheless, when someone is arrested, there is a blot on the person’s record. Our law firm frequently handles expungements, formally known as a Motion to Set Aside, which has the result that the underlying arrest record is sealed pursuant to ORS 137.225. Our law firm hereby offers to assist all eligible protesters whose cases are dismissed, and are otherwise eligible, and will provide assistance with regard to their expungement motion. We will take the first 50 of these expungements, in Multnomah County, free of charge.