The protester facing the most charges, 19-year-old Rowan Olsen, has pleaded not guilty. His federal public defender, Susan Russell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Protesters in Portland have demonstrated for 40 consecutive nights following the death of George Floyd and are increasingly focusing their actions on federal properties in the city’s downtown core, including the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
Court papers filed Monday allege Olsen used his body to hold the doors to the courthouse shut to prevent federal officers from coming out to confront demonstrators and caused the glass to shatter. Other protesters then threw fireworks inside the courthouse and at federal officers, starting a small fire in the entryway, according to court papers.
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PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that seven people have been arrested and face federal charges for their roles in weekend riots at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland.
According to court documents, since May 26, 2020, protests in downtown Portland have regularly been followed by nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism.
Rowan Olsen, 19, of Portland, is charged with disorderly conduct, creating a hazard on federal property, and failing to obey a lawful order; Shant Singh Ahuja, 28, of Oceanside, California, is charged with destruction of federal property; and Andrew Steven Faulkner, 24, of Beaverton, Oregon; Gretchen Margaret Blank, 29, of Seattle, Washington; Christopher Fellini, 31, of Portland; Cody Porter, 28, of Portland; and Taimane Jame Teo, 24, of Eugene, Oregon, are charged with assaulting federal officers.
The Hatfield Federal Courthouse has been a repeated target of vandalism, sustaining extensive damage. U.S. Marshals Service deputies and officers from the Federal Protective Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection working to protect the courthouse have been subjected to threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high intensity lasers targeting officers’ eyes; thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint from demonstrators while performing their duties.
On July 2-3, 2020, Olsen is accused of using his body to push on and hold a glass door at the Hatfield Courthouse closed, preventing officers from exiting the building and causing the door to shatter. With the door broken, a mortar firework entered the courthouse, detonating near the officers. The officers used shields and their bodies to block the open doorway for approximately six hours until demonstrators dispersed.