Protester Charged with Assault in Street Protest : Oregon law
Oregon law enforcers have arrested several people in connection with a street demonstration that turned into a riot last November. Thousands of demonstrators had gathered to protest the outcome of the recent elections but things quickly got out of hand as shop and car windows in the vicinity of the protests were smashed, firecrackers thrown and trash set on fire.
Police arrested about 100 demonstrators, many of whom were later released as prosecutors dropped charges against them.
But in one case, police charged a 20-year old Portland resident for alleged assault and for vandalism of a car business during the November protest in downtown Portland. Police reportedly made the arrest allegedly after receiving anonymous tips from the community and viewing pictures allegedly taken during the riot. The incident is claimed to have occurred on the third consecutive day of street protests that swept the city following the presidential elections.
The demonstration was declared a riot as police cited ‘extensive criminal and dangerous behavior’ on the streets hours after it started. The 20-year old protester is facing charges of felony assault and criminal mischief.
A felony assault charge is a serious offense that can lead to long years behind bars. Anyone facing an assault felony charge must get the best criminal defense that can help in dismissing the charges or reducing the charge to a misdemeanor with relatively light consequences. An experienced assault defense attorney can examine the charges and weigh the evidence against the defendant.
Depending on the circumstances of the situation, possible defenses that may be raised include:
- Mistaken identity, considering that thousands of protesters were present when the disorderly behavior occurred
- Self-defense or defense of others
Burden of Proof
Prosecutors have the duty of proving that the defendant committed specific acts that constitute felony assault. This will require extensive investigation including viewing hundreds of hours of video footage, interviews with eyewitnesses, and collection of relevant physical evidence of the alleged assault. Due to the sheer number of arrests made during the demonstration, prosecutors have temporarily dropped many of the charges against protesters pending review of the evidence available to them.
Are you facing an assault charge in Portland, Oregon? Talk to an experienced Portland criminal defense attorney immediately about your legal options.