The Bend Police Department has forwarded the cases of 22 people to the DA’s office for possible charges after a dueling political rally turned violent and a police protest blocked traffic earlier this month.
The first incident happened Oct. 4th during a rally for President Trump and a counter-protest at Pilot Butte State Park.
The event got heated after someone stole a flag, which prompted punches, pepper spray and someone pulling a gun
At the time, police issued a single citation for the man who stole the flag, which prompted another rally the next day outside the Bend Police station from a group who demanded to talk to Police Chief Michael Krantz about the incident.
Lt. Juli McConkey said following the incidents the department assembled a five-member team that spent over 400 hours of personnel time to review all of the available evidence, reports and statements from the events that day.
On Tuesday, members of the Bend Police Department investigative team met with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office and presented them with documents for review, McConkey said.
In all, police presented cases on 15 people – nine men and six women – for potential criminal charges including third-degree theft, riot, harassment, disorderly conduct, unlawful use of mace, unlawful use of a weapon and interfering with a police officer.
Additional charges are being considered for some of the group of people who held a police protest outside the department on October 4th.
McConkey said during this incident “some of the individuals engaged in blocking traffic for periods of time on Hwy 20, in front of the Bend Police Department, holding traffic and causing significant delays.”
Five women and two men were presented with charges including first and second-degree disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.
“The Bend Police Department will continue to evaluate all events that fall under First Amendment protections,” McConkey said. “However, rights to free speech do not include engaging in behavior that is defined as a crime under Oregon, federal or local law, and we will work to ensure that people who engage in criminal behavior will be held accountable. We will thoroughly investigate alleged criminal conduct and when appropriate forward those investigations to the District Attorney’s Office for charging decisions.”