Six Occupy ICE protesters accused of failing to obey lawful orders outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters Portland last year won’t face criminal convictions under a settlement agreement announced in federal court Wednesday.
The six have agreed to each pay $100 fines, complete 10 hours of community service by the end of this year and stay at least 200 feet away from the federal facility for one year, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kerin told a judge.
Defense lawyer Philip Lewis applauded the U.S. Attorney’s Office for dropping the formal misdemeanor charges and instead filing the case as citations against the six arrested.
Lewis said the defendants were protesting the Trump administration’s policy of separating children and parents detained after border crossings.
Lewis also said in court he “thanks the defendants for taking a stand against child abuse,’’ adding that their challenge of the charges “took a lot of courage.’’ He represented Kathryn A. Pylan, one of the six defendants.
The six were set for trial next month on two misdemeanor charges, creating disturbances and failing to comply with lawful directions of federal police. The two misdemeanors bring a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The June 2018 occupation outside the ICE headquarters on Southwest Macadam Avenue lasted about five weeks. Protesters set up a makeshift camp and remained there around the clock. They said their intention was to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating children and parents detained after border crossings and seek the abolishment of ICE.
The building closed for 10 days because protesters blocked its entrances. Early on June 28, 2018, after Federal Protective Service officers issued verbal warnings and posted written notices saying further obstruction of the entrances violated federal law, the officers moved in to arrest a group who continued to block the entries.
The defendants in this case linked arms and chanted in protest. Two of the them were bound together in a so-called sleeping dragon device, which had to be cut and dismantled.
The entire cost for public safety, crowd control and cleanup reached more than $1.8 million, Kerin wrote in court documents.
The defendants were Cameron M. Cruscial, Lauren M. Halcomb-Hudson, MacKenzie G. Hilmes, Emma C. Mavros, Anna V. Moklayk and Pyland.
Under a new local rule adopted by the U.S. District of Oregon on Aug. 1 , those who pay a fine stemming from a federal misdemeanor or petty offense citation won’t face a criminal conviction. They may waive their appearance before a federal magistrate judge and dispose of the matter by paying a fine approved by the court, ending the case. It will not constitute a criminal conviction or admission of guilt.
— Maxine Bernstein
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