By Lisa Lambert, Jason Lange and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Friday said it has arrested 18 people and charged them for alleged crimes committed during recent anti-racism protests in Portland.
In a statement, the department said all 18 had made a first appearance in federal court and were released pending jury trials or other court proceedings.
Billy Williams, the Portland United States Attorney, said that five people were charged for allegedly committing crimes including assaulting a federal officer, trespassing and creating a disturbance during protests on the night of July 20-21.
Prosecutors said that seven people have been charged in connection with criminal conduct during a July 21-22 night protest. Another six were charged for their alleged actions in protests during the night of July 22-23.
The federal government has deployed teams of specially equipped agents to the Portland protests, drawing criticism from Democrats and civil liberties groups over excessive force and federal overreach by the Trump administration.