Portland, OR – A rioter accused of assaulting a federally-deputized Portland police officer is now facing federal charges in connection with the alleged attack.
U.S. Attorney Billy Williams announced in a press release on Oct. 26 that a Portland federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against 18-year-old Skyler Roy Rider, charging him with offenses of assaulting a federal officer and civil disorder.
The alleged attack occurred during a night of rioting outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building on South Macadam Avenue on Oct. 6, according to court documents.
Rider, who was wearing a gas mask, body armor, and was dressed all in black, was among a group of rioters who showed up at the federal building carrying shields and blocking roadways that night.
Members of the mob flashed lights in officers’ eyes and hurled rocks and various projectiles at police before someone in the crowd tossed a “flaming object” onto the roof of the ICE building, prosecutors said.
Officers pushed the rioters back towards Elizabeth Caruthers Park, but they returned a short while later.
The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) incident commander then declared the event to be an unlawful assembly, and officers ordered the mob to disperse, according to the press release.
They refused to leave and continued to block the roadway while squaring off with police.
“A PPB officer assigned to the Rapid Response Team, deputized as a U.S. Marshal to protect federal personnel and property during civil disorder events, observed a subject later identified as Skyler Roy Rider, holding a distinct blue and white umbrella, in a line of others blocking the street holding shields,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) press release read.
The officer determined there was sufficient probable cause to arrest Rider on charges of interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct.
But as the officer moved in to arrest the masked suspect, Rider “lowered the umbrella with both hands and forcibly jabbed the officer in the chest with the pointed end of the umbrella,” according to the press release.
“The force caused the officer to gasp and curl over in pain,” allowing Rider to briefly escape, the DOJ said.
The suspect was quickly apprehended by other officers and placed under arrest.
Three other rioters were also arrested, KATU reported.
— Justin Yau (@PDocumentarians) October 7, 2020
Investigators later discovered video footage that allegedly showed Rider throwing a water bottle at federal officers earlier in the night.
Rider had two water bottles stuffed into his pockets at the time of his arrest, according to police.
He pleaded not guilty during a federal court appearance on Monday, and was released from custody, according to the press release.
Rider’s two-day trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 29.
Fifty-six members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team were deputized as federal marshals on Sept. 26 ahead of an anticipated clash between the Proud Boys and counter-demonstrators, The Oregonian reported at the time.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an emergency executive order to put 56 officers, sergeants, and lieutenants from the unit that handles crowd control for the police bureau under the command of Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton and Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese temporarily, according to The Oregonian.
Superintendent Hampton asked the U.S. Marshals Service to grant federal power to the members of the Rapid Response Team who are typically on the front lines of the nightly violent protests.
“Portland Officers have been serving on the front lines of nightly protests for months, sustaining injuries and encountering unspeakable violence,” Superintendent Hampton said. “If I am to send them into harm’s way this weekend, on my authority, I’m going to ensure they have all the protections and authority of an OSP Trooper.”
The superintendent had previously said that he wanted protesters thinking about the “enhanced penalties” they could face for attacking Portland police officers, KATU reported.
“If they were attacked, whoever attacked them could face federal charges and be prosecuted differently,” U.S. Marshals Service Spokesman Dave Oney told OPB.
Oney explained the practice of deputizing local police was not an unusual one.
He said local police are regularly deputized when they are assisting federal agencies in tracking down a fugitive, KATU reported.
Oney also used the Inauguration as an example of when many local, county, and state law enforcement officers are deputized to assist federal agents.
But he also pointed out that the deputizations usually only last for the duration of the event or investigation they’re assisting with and said extending it for months was unusual, KATU reported.
The Portland Police Bureau has since confirmed that the 56 Rapid Response Team members who had been federally deputized would maintain that status through the remainder of the year.
The U.S. Marshals Service’s Oregon district told KATU that they would renew the federal status of the officers in 2021 if necessary.
Portland Police Sergeant Kevin Allen told The Oregonian that the fact that some Portland officers had been deputized did not mean that all assaults against them would be federally charged.
“According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, federal deputization, standing alone, does not trigger coverage under the statute that prohibits assaults on federal officers,” Sgt. Allen said in an email.
The sergeant said charging decisions would be based on individual crimes and whether there was federal interest in them, The Oregonian reported.
“Along with the Oregon State Police who are also sworn as Federal Officers, this will enable any persons who commit violent acts towards our Law Enforcement Officers to be charged federally,” the state police said in a statement. “The Oregon State Police and Portland Police will continue to make arrests on state charges. Those cases are then reviewed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and federal prosecutors will determine if any cases warrant federal charges.”