The First Amendment is wide-ranging, and that is quite purposeful. We are a nation that simply cannot exist without this inalienable right to speak our minds and criticize those who are elected to serve us. Dissent truly is patriotic, and that’s why you’ll find that particular bumper sticker on Toyota Priuses and Dodge Rams alike.
But there is a line between exercising this right and endangering those around you, as they, too, have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. When extremist agitators use the cover of a peaceful protest to wreak their particular brand of havoc, the First Amendment suffers. In order to crack down on this affront to the Constitution, you have to crack down on those who are causing the ruckus.
It is this common sense philosophy that has the Oregon State Police at odds with the City of Portland.
But today, the Oregon state troopers departed, and a spokesman for the law enforcement agency blamed the reform-minded Multnomah County district attorney who took office last week.
“At this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,” OSP Capt. Timothy Fox told Oregon Public Broadcasting and KOIN, among others.
That’s a reference to the fact that the new DA, Mike Schmidt, announced Aug. 11 he would preemptively dismiss criminal cases against protesters charged with misdemeanors and rioting, a felony.
Portland has been the site of some of the longest running and most violent protests over the course of the last several months, and has thusly received a great deal of national attention.
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