Black Lives Matter Activist Arrested at Portland Riot Released, Will Not Face Charges

demetria hester

Demetria Hester, a Black Lives Matter leader arrested Monday during what Portland Police had declared a riot, has been released and will not face charges.

She was taken into custody for disorderly conduct in the second degree and interfering with a peace officer, a press release from Portland Police said.

Oregon Live, an online site connected to the Oregonian newspaper, reported on the development:

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute Portland activist Demetria Hester on Monday and criminal charges against her were dismissed a day after Portland police arrested her and several others at a protest.

On Monday, Multnomah County DA’s office spokesman Brent Weisberg said the court would dismiss the charges. “The prosecution decline decision was in the interest of justice upon reviewing the police reports in this matter,” Weisberg said in an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

After her release, Hester spoke to reporters about a planned trip to Washington, DC, in August to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech at the March on Washington.

“I was born and bred to do this,” Hester said in an ABC report. “This is a dream come true.”

“This is a revolution and we’re getting reparations,” Hester said. “We’re taking it to D.C., baby!”

“On Monday, civil rights groups in Portland and members of the international Black Lives Matter organization, who traveled to Portland, decried Hester’s arrest and said the city was at the center of the racial justice protest movement,” ABC reported. “The hashtag #freedemetria gained momentum on Twitter long after Hester had been released from jail.”

“Our life is in danger just because we want to express the fact that we are being abused, killed, raped and no one is doing nothing about it,” Hester told the AP on Saturday. “And that’s why we’re protesting and we will never stop because we want to be treated equal as people.”

She ended her remarks to reporters on Monday leading the crowd that had gathered in chants of “stay woke” and “reparations.”

“We are here for this revolution,” Hester said. “If you’re here, do your part.”

The media describes Hester as a survivor of a hate crime because of a confrontation she had with Jeremy Christian on a light-rail train in Portland in 2017. Christian threatened Hester but when she reported it to police he was not arrested.

The next day he stabbed three men who came to the aid of two black women and two of those men died from their injuries. Last spring at Christian’s murder trial, Hester testified against him. Christian threatened to kill Hester in the courtroom and was removed by police. 

Christian was sentenced to two life sentences, but Hester has since spoken out against police for not arresting Christian and resurfaced when protests broke out in Portland in June.

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