Quietly, across America, a seditious revolution has begun. And they didn’t have to fire a single shot. Progressive lawyers running as reformists have won office as District Attorneys and are flat out refusing to prosecute lawbreakers. In a year roiled by rioting, looting and arson, we can see the results of this radical movement as demoralized police play catch-and-release with the people destroying our cities.
Sedition: Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state.
In Portland, Oregon, Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt took office this summer. The non-stop arson, looting and violence that has plagued the city didn’t phase Mike. One of his first acts as DA was to publish a list of protest-related crimes that would not be prosecuted:
● Interference with a police officer
● Disorderly conduct
● Criminal trespass
● Escape III
● Harassment, when classified as a Class B misdemeanor
Interference is certainly less of a concern that violent felonies. Or is it? In Portland, the so-called peaceful protesters who are not “actually committing crimes” are providing active support and cover for those who are breaking the law, much like the driver of the getaway car in a bank robbery is still an essential partner in the crime. Interference with a police officer could include stopping police from arresting somebody who committed a serious crime, like murder.
It gets worse. Schmidt required that a “high degree of scrutiny” be applied to any charge of resisting arrest that arises from protesting activity and to any charge of assaulting a public safety officer that arises from protesting activity. For example, prosecutors should ask if “the defendant been recently subjected to tear gas or other less lethal force? Were they otherwise in pain, or unable to hear, breathe or see at the moment the
assaultive conduct occurred?”
Rioters also get off the hook for stealing and vandalism. The DA’s office will dismiss criminals “after restitution is paid to the victim or other amends to the community are made, including restorative justice with the impacted victim.” A weekend of community service might be considered an amend. Will that make the owner of small business that was ransacked feel justice has been served?
The message is that these crimes are now OK in Portland:
● Criminal mischief, in an amount under $1000. A conditional dismissal may also be granted in an amount higher than $1000 if the damage is entirely due to vandalism.
● Theft, in an amount under $1000. (So an entire Wal-Mart could be emptied and nobody would be charged, providing they walked out with less than a grand in booty.)
● Burglary II if combined with the above.
Schmidt has proven to be a friend to militant activists and opportunistic looters, and he isn’t alone. Philadelphia’s restorative-justice DA Larry Krasner is considered one of the most progressive DA’s in America. Before being elected DA, Krasner defended Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philadelphia protesters pro bono. Krasner became DA in 2017 and soon faced condemnation for his anti-police rhetoric from William McSwain, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “We’ve now endured over a year and a half of the worst kinds of slander against law enforcement — the DA routinely calls police and prosecutors corrupt and racist, even ‘war criminals’ that he compares to Nazis,” said Swain.
Social justice reformers have been elected to office in Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Arlington, St. Louis, Orlando and San Antonio. You can see if a reformer is running in your state or county by checking the Real Justice website.
Many conservatives agree that excessive prison sentences and over-incarceration are a threat to American liberties. But even a short time behind bars sends a message, and jail is not the only possible punishment for wrongdoing. When DAs refuse to even prosecute crime, they destroy police morale and send the wrong message to lawbreakers: laws don’t matter anymore. The first role of a government is to protect the lives and property of citizens. When selecting a District Attorney we should vote as if our lives depended on it, because they do.