The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Ore., announced Tuesday that seven people arrested during nighttime riots at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, made their first court appearances Monday -- all face federal charges.
Demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism erupted nationwide -- including in Portland -- following the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police. Some protests turned violent, according to authorities, with “nightly criminal activity” that included assaults on police officers, vandalism, looting and arson.
“The Hatfield Federal Courthouse has been a repeated target of vandalism, sustaining extensive damage,” the Tuesday press release said. “The courthouse has 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."
All seven defendants were released pending a trial, though only four of them, including Rowan Olsen, 19, Andrew Steven Faulkner, 24, Christopher Fellini, 31 and Cody Porter, 28, are actually from the city of Portland.
The other three defendants are Shant Singh Ahuja, 28, from Oceanside, Calif., Gretchen Margaret Blank, 29, from Seattle, Wash., and Taimaine Jame Teo, 24, from Eugene, Ore.,
Olsen has been accused of using his body to hold a glass door closed to the Hatfield Federal Courthouse, to prevent officers inside from being able to leave -- eventually shattering the door. A mortar firework was shot through the broken door and detonated inside the courthouse near police officers.
“The officers used shields and their bodies to block the open doorway for approximately six hours until demonstrators dispersed,” the press release said.
Ahuja is also accused of “willfully destroying a closed-circuit video camera” mounted on the exterior courthouse.
Blank has been accused of assaulting an officer with a shield while that officer was attempting to make a separate arrest.
Faulkner, Fellini, Porter, and Teo are all accused of assaulting federal officers with high-intensity lasers. Faulkner was also in possession of a machete at the time of his arrest.
On June 26, Attorney General Bill Barr created a task force to help counter “violent anti-government extremists” that will combine resources from state, local and federal bodies.
“The ultimate goal of the task force will be not only to enable prosecutions of extremists who engage in violence but to understand these groups well enough that we can stop such violence before it occurs,” wrote Barr in a letter.
The cases are all being jointly investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Federal Protective Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations.
Fox News' David Spunt contributed to this report.