Protesters head home after a vigil in downtown Salem in late May. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
The Marion County District Attorney’s Office on Monday dismissed criminal charges against 14 people arrested during protests a month ago.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Queen said attorneys did a full review of the cases and determined they didn’t meet the threshold for the office to continue prosecuting them.
“We review these investigations applying the legal standard of whether we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and take into consideration whether the interests of justice would be served through criminal prosecution,” Queen said in an email.
The arrests came in late May and early June during night time protests that started at the Capitol and spread into downtown Salem. Police said they were targets for bottles, fireworks and other projectiles as they attempted to regain control of the city streets.
Six people were charged with riot, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. Those charged were Jaimie Dehart, 20, Pablo Perez-Vergara, 23, Monica Morales-Angel, 21, Jordan Wark, 19, Bran Smith, 21, and Bryce Scanlon, 24.
They were also charged with interfering with police.
Records showed that identical police affidavits were used in each instance to justify their arrest.
Several of those arrested claimed they weren’t engaging in illegal conduct but were trying to leave downtown Salem after protests, they told Salem Reporter.
In court documents, Dehart said she was walking back to her car when she was arrested and lost both her jobs as a result of the felony riot charge.
Another eight people were charged with interfering with a police officer.
Jose Cruz Ibarra-Barker, Judith Hartzelle, Kloie Wilson, Brady Scott Tavernier, Elias Ramirez Perez, Jackson Riley Swain, Kendyl Izabelle Davis, Priscilla Magana-Rangel were arrested for the misdemeanor charge that’s been dismissed.
The other arrests were juveniles and not in the district attorney's purview.
In a review released Monday, the Salem Police Department alluded to problems with the arrest process, noting that police in the Criminal Investigations Section helped with charging documents and interviews before they were transported for booking.
“There were issues with charging documents and officer reports,” the report said. “Mostly this was the result of lack of coordination between the arrest teams and the teams managing the charging documents, who were working at different locations.”
The report didn’t provide any detail on the issues with the documents that formed that basis for charging the individuals.
Have a story tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, firstname.lastname@example.org or @daisysaphara.
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