In Exchange for 5-Year Plea Deal With Multnomah County DA, Federal Prosecutors Will Drop Arson Charges Against Protester

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it intends to honor the agreement.

Mattress Fire A news photographer frames a shot of a protester through smoke from a burning mattress in September of 2020. (Alex Wittwer) (alex wittwer)

A protester named Gavaughn Streeter-Hillerich pleaded guilty on June 11 to one count of arson in the first degree for starting a fire at the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct last summer. As part of the plea agreement with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, federal and Washington County prosecutors will drop charges against him.

On June 26, 2020, court records say, the 23-year-old intentionally set fire on top of a dumpster, which had been pushed up against plywood attached to the precinct’s facade.

“At the time Streeter-Hillerich set fire to the building, approximately 19 people were inside PPB’s North Precinct,” the DA’s office said in a statement Monday. “Had the fire spread, it would have threatened the safety of those individuals.”

On Friday, Streeter-Hillerich entered a guilty plea, and a judge sentenced him to 60 months, or five years, in prison. According to the DA’s office, the sentence resulted from a “global resolution” of the arson case, plus two other Multnomah County cases for which Streeter-Hillerich faced charges, including unlawful use of a weapon and coercion and assault in the first degree.

The “global resolution” also cleared up federal arson charges filed against Streeter-Hillerich last August stemming from the same June 26 protest: “The government will dismiss Mr. Streeter-Hillerich’s federal case and Washington County case,” say court documents. The federal charges—two counts of arson and attempted arson—carry a minimum sentence of five years each.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it intends to honor the agreement.

“We do intend to dismiss our federal charges against Mr. Streeter-Hillerich as part of this global resolution. This should occur within a matter of days,” Kevin Sonoff, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon, tells WW.

As part of the agreement, the Washington County DA on Friday also dismissed a harassment case against Streeter-Hillerich, which was filed in February.

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