Oregon sheriff lowers jail booking criteria amid violent Portland protests

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Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese issued a special order last week allowing deputies to book misdemeanor crime suspects into jail as the city still grapples with violent protests that have seen businesses and government buildings vandalized. 

The changes took effect on April 23, according to a memo signed by Reese. 

Previously, deputies issued a citation for misdemeanor crimes with a court appearance order. The order comes after nearly a year of protests that have devolved into violence that resulted in buildings being vandalized, fires being set and violent clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. 

Police fire tear gas at demonstrators during a protest against ICE in Portland, Oregon on January 23, 2021.

Police fire tear gas at demonstrators during a protest against ICE in Portland, Oregon on January 23, 2021.
(Photo by John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“The violence and property destruction we’ve seen in Portland for nearly 11 months is unacceptable,” Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said last week. “As district attorney, I will always defend a person’s right to free speech but I will not defend, nor support anyone who knowingly or recklessly or intentionally destroys property or engages in violence.”

Since the changes went into effect, three people have been arrested and booked into jail on second-degree criminal mischief charges, the Oregonian reported. 

Fox News has reached out to the sheriff’s office but has not heard back. 

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he hopes the changes will stop those who have taken to the streets to set fires, break windows and spray-paint graffiti. 

“Once they cross that line and engage in criminal destruction, they are no longer protesters they are criminals,” Wheeler said during a Friday afternoon press conference.

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