7 Face Federal Charges Over Riots at Portland Courthouse

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
July 8, 2020US News
7 Face Federal Charges Over Riots at Portland Courthouse
A pyrotechnic mortar explodes in the lobby after a glass door was broken by a rioter—allegedly 19-year-old Rowan Olsen—at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, on July 2-3, 2020. (Photo via Department of Justice)

Seven people have been arrested on charges including assault on law enforcement officers, destruction of federal property, and other disorderly conduct related to riots at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Billy J. Williams announced on Tuesday.

All seven defendants were released pending trial after their first appearances in federal court on Monday, July 6.

Amid ongoing protests in Portland since the death of George Floyd in late May, rioters have increasingly targeted federal properties in the city, including the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.

“The Hatfield Federal Courthouse has been a repeated target of vandalism, sustaining extensive damage,” the announcement from Williams reads.

Law enforcement officers who have been working to protect the courthouse have been subjected to “threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high intensity lasers targeting officers’ eyes; thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint from demonstrators while performing their duties,” the statement adds.

Only four of the seven are from the Portland metro area. The seven arrested are Rowan Olsen, 19, of Portland; Shant Singh Ahuja, 28, of Oceanside, California; Andrew Steven Faulkner, 24, of Beaverton, Oregon; Gretchen Margaret Blank, 29, of Seattle, Washington; Christopher Fellini, 31, of Portland; Cody Porter, 28, of Portland; and Taimane Jame Teo, 24, of Eugene, Oregon.

Olsen is charged with disorderly conduct, creating a hazard on federal property, and failing to obey a lawful order. On July 2-3, Olsen allegedly used his body to push on and hold a glass door at the Hatfield Courthouse closed, which prevented law enforcement officers from leaving the building, and caused the door to shatter.

NTD Photo
Glass courthouse door allegedly broken by 19-year-old Rowan Olsen on July 2-3, 2020. (Photo via Department of Justice)

“With the door broken, a mortar firework entered the courthouse, detonating near the officers. The officers used shields and their bodies to block the open doorway for approximately six hours until demonstrators dispersed,” the announcement read.

Olsen was arrested in the early morning hours of July 3.

“Last night’s demonstration marked a significant escalation in violence against federal property in Portland,” Williams said in an earlier news release on July 3. “These actions are illegal and will not be tolerated. Perpetrators of violence against federal law enforcement officers and property will face arrest and prosecution.”

Ahuja is accused of destroying a security camera mounted on the outside of the courthouse on July 4.

Blank is accused of assaulting a federal officer on July 5 with a shield while the officer was trying to arrest another protester.

Faulkner, Fellini, Porter, and Teo are charged with assaulting federal officers with high intensity lasers on July 5-6. Faulkner was carrying a sheathed machete at the time of his arrest.

NTD Photo
Possessions seized from 31-year-old Christopher Fellini who is charged with assaulting federal officers amid protests in Portland on July 5-6, 2020. (Photo via Department of Justice)

The alleged acts are being investigated jointly by the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Federal Protective Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan condemned the violence in Portland in recent days.

“What we’re seeing in Portland isn’t protesting. It’s criminal behavior being perpetrated by criminals,” Morgan said in a statement on July 6. “They planned, coordinated & armed themselves with weapons intending to destroy federal property and injure law enforcement. Where is local leadership?”

In an earlier statement on July 5, he wrote, “Regardless of your political affiliation or ideological beliefs, there’s no justification for violence & criminal destruction of our historic monuments, statutes, or federal property. We should all unite behind the concept that law & order is a cornerstone of American society.”

From The Epoch Times

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