A 55-year-old Portland man was charged with assault for allegedly ramming a car of federal officers with his SUV on an interstate highway this weekend, as federal officials pursued a slate of cases against citizens who attacked or threatened police.
The U.S. Attorney for Oregon's Office says Lonnie Vantewa Albert veered his vehicle into a rental car occupied by two uniformed Federal Protective Service officers who were driving east on Interstate 84 to their hotel after guarding a downtown federal office building. Prosecutors say Albert then rammed the officers' car again in a hospital parking lot in outer Southeast Portland.
The incidents occurred early on Aug. 30, hours after Aaron J. Danielson was shot to death in downtown Portland, following a motorcade of Trump supporters passing through the city.
Danielson's death was the latest alleged incident of political violence in a city where protesters and police now appear locked in an intractable battle. President Donald Trump deployed federal officers to Portland in early July, in a crackdown that has intensified anger among many residents.
Amid that atmosphere, federal prosecutors again indicated they will not wait for progressive Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt to pursue criminal cases against suspects who attack law enforcement officers.
As The Oregonian first reported today, U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams filed the rare criminal charge of "civil disorder" against two rioters: a Seattle man who used a slingshot to hit a Portland firefighter with a ball bearing, and a Portland woman who threw a helmet at a Portland police officer.
Those charges are significant because neither crime is of a severity that would normally interest federal prosecutors—and both victims were city, rather than federal, employees. But as WW reported last month, Williams' office has pursued criminal cases that occurred on city and county property as Trump demands a crackdown on Portland's civil unrest.
Also today, federal prosecutors filed charges against a 36-year-old Seattle man, Kyle Tornow, for allegedly sending a bomb threat to Portland police precincts. Prosecutors say Tornow used a city electronics communications system to claim he had placed a bomb inside one of the police precincts. The threat said the explosive could not be detected by dogs and that if he were caught, "others will take my place and immediately detonate the bomb."
There was no bomb. Tornow was arrested today in Seattle.