US Attorney for Oregon Goes Off on the Media for Downplaying the Nightly Riots at the Courthouse

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Posted: Jul 30, 2020 6:10 PM
US Attorney for Oregon Goes Off on the Media for Downplaying the Nightly Riots at the Courthouse

Source: Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian via AP

U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Billy Williams ripped into the media for how they have portrayed the nightly attacks against the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland, which prompted the federal government's decision to send extra federal officers to ensure the safety of the building.

Standing within the fencing that has kept rioters away from the courthouse, Williams told KGW News last Friday they have been on the receiving end of "disgusting," "mindless violence."

"This, look around," Williams gestured to the damage behind him. "Do you think it's okay? Is there any justification for this? I hope not. Portland is losing its soul right now."

"What you have failed, in the media, have failed to distinguish, you seem unwilling to call people engaged in criminal conduct as criminals as opposed to lawful protest," Williams continued. "So I'm just saying there's needs to be a distinction made between lawful, Constitutionally protected protests and this. This is unlawful." 

"Call it out for what it is," he added.

When a reporter asked a follow-up question using the phrase "late-night activity," Williams was still upset at the verbiage the reporter was using.

"You're using 'late-night activity.'" It sounds like a party. It's criminal," Williams said. "You can call for what it is, you're choosing terms that sort of down play the criminal activity."

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with the state of Oregon to allow a phased withdrawal of the extra federal officers and that Oregon State Police will help take over the security of the courthouse. However, the reinforcements are not leaving in the immediate future as they still consider the security of the courthouse to be at high risk.