Statement from District Attorney Mike Schmidt regarding demonstrations

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt released the following statement:

“The controversial charging decision in the Breonna Taylor case has re-opened wounds across our nation, and here locally, by highlighting the glaring inequities entrenched within our criminal justice system. As Multnomah County District Attorney, I continue to dedicate myself to the work of reform.

I am also alarmed and angry after witnessing the violence in downtown Portland on Wednesday night. What started as a peaceful gathering to support the family of Breonna Taylor was overtaken by people who engaged in dangerous and criminal behavior. I am thankful that no Portland police officers or Portland firefighters were injured after a flaming object was thrown and then exploded just inches away from them. There is no justification for a person to ever throw an incendiary device, to set fire to buildings or to engage in other violent and destructive behavior.

I stand against hate and violence. Neither promotes the reform that is being demanded in our community and across the country. My office will always support and defend the right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, and we will always condemn violence.

This is a challenging time for our nation and our community locally. This is a time for us to support free speech and to promote public safety.  On Saturday, there will likely be two large gatherings in North Portland. It is never acceptable to engage in violent or destructive behavior. We have already seen too much violence, harm and even death during past demonstrations. For those who are thinking about traveling to Oregon to engage in criminal conduct – our message is clear: Stay away. For people who attend the events: Leave your weapons behind. Don’t give someone who wants to promote violence a platform by engaging with them.

Let’s remember at the end of the day that we are all human with families and friends. We will not always agree, but disagreement on political and societal issues will not be resolved by violence in our streets. Let’s resolve our issues safely and peacefully through dialogue and voting.”