Once again, I want to put out an apology that some may say isn’t needed. I’ve wanted to follow the court cases of protesters who have been arrested by PPB (and ideally the feds as well), but when I made the decision, I didn’t anticipate the mountain of work that I’d be fighting against. PPB, in addition to violating their policies about not naming and shaming arrestees, can’t even do that part right. I’ve found their press releases rife with errors almost since the first night, tons of names missing, and even a few names that weren’t related to protests when I did more digging. So I realized I’d have to go back and check court dockets individually. I started with case 29354 and moved on from there. At this point I’ve gotten to 32499, so I’ve gone through over 3000 line items. That said, since the whole state uses the same numbering system now, a lot of them I could skip because they dealt with other counties. But I’ve probably still had to sift through over a thousand court cases. Look up records to figure out what are protest related or not, based on charges, locations of citations, and things like that. It is incredibly boring, mentally draining work, and I’m finding that it’s easy for my mind to drift off.
But as much progress as I make, the pile keeps building. I’m still only to arrests on June 15th, and I know we’re well past case 45800 now. I have 13,300 cases to sift through, and no idea how many are from Multnomah County. Not even a fifth of the way done. It’s not sexy, there’s no payoff, and motivation is a nightmare. But I keep trying.
At this point, though, I have 221 cases that I’ve identified as most likely protest related (I’ve had to make a few judgement calls based on scant court records, especially ones that have already been dismissed). So I might as well try to give some insight based on what I’ve got now.
Multiple Arrests – At this time, no one person has been arrested multiple times at protests
Out of Towners – I’ve heard all the rumors that these are all ‘imported’ protesters, or paid by George Soros, or that kind of crap. The data doesn’t support it. Of 221 arrests logged so far, 207 were from Oregon, 11 from the Vancouver area of Washington, 2 from Arizona and one from Montana. Extrapolating that arrests are proportional of the protest groups in general it shows that almost everyone is local.
Status – At this time, there are 26 open cases (16.3%), while 10 the “state cannot proceed” (4.5%) and the rest (79.2%) have been dismissed
Timeline of dismissed charges – 61 of them (33%) were dismissed before the new DA took over on August 1st. The rest that have been dismissed since were held over previously due to COVID-19 restrictions. Overall, unless charges were dropped the same day they were arrested, at this point it’s taken about two months for charges to be dismissed.
Pleadings – Of the remaining 36 open cases, four of them have FTA warrants issued for missing court dates. Another 30 of them are still waiting for their arraignment hearings (when they file a guilty or not guilty pleading). Of the last two cases that -have- been arraigned, both have pled Not Guilty and are in the early stages of trial preparation. The wheels of justice run slowly, but even slower in the time of Coronavirus. Of course, this also makes it even more ridiculous the idea that people want protesters kept in jail before trials. They forget that while we have two different justice systems in this country, we’re supposed to at least maintain the ‘appearance’ of “innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers”