As Portland, Oregon, and other cities continue to deal with widespread protests and rioting, some Democratic officials have faced criticism for appearing to side with those violating the law.
A top staffer to one major Oregon state lawmaker provided fuel to such speculation when she was arrested on suspicion of interfering with a police officer amid a declared riot, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
A march become a riot
The arrest was one of dozens that came in the wake of a protest on Saturday that erupted into rioting and spilled over well into Sunday.
Kristina Narayan, Democratic State House Speaker Tina Kotek’s legislative director, was reportedly among those who participated in a demonstration that began with a march toward the East Portland Community Policing Center.
When local police officers blocked the protesters’ path, authorities say one subject threw a Molotov cocktail toward police and accidentally lit a fellow protester on fire instead. The escalation led police to declare the assembly unlawful.
Early on Sunday morning, 26-year-old Narayan was placed in custody, as reported by The Hill. According to a social media profile, she has worked for Kotek since September 2016 and was promoted to her current position more than two years ago.
Portland Police Bureau spokesman Derek Carmon confirmed the arrest in a statement to The Hill.
“Kristina Narayan was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer after the event became a riot and the crowd was given multiple orders to disperse, which she did not do,” he stated.
“Multiple orders to disperse”
Hours after Narayan was booked into jail early Sunday, she had been released without bail. The following day, the charge against her was dropped.
Following the debacle, Narayan affirmed her belief that criminals should face the consequences of their actions while asserting that she considered her actions warranted. She claimed to have simply been taking photos of the scene from behind police lines.
“I believe vandalism and violent person crimes should result in arrest and prosecution,” she said. “I believe it is my right to practice resistance, including remaining in place or documenting what I consider to be unlawful and indiscriminate arrests.”
Kotek has spoken out in defense of her top aide, which might give voters in Oregon and beyond pause as they consider whether the Democratic Party has gone too far in its support of often violent and destructive demonstrations.