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Staffer for top Democratic Oregon lawmaker arrested in Portland riots

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 9/10/2020 Joe Davies For Mailonline
Tina Kotek et al. in a dark room with smoke and fire: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

A staffer for a top Democratic lawmaker in Oregon was arrested for interfering with a police officer during the 101st day of Portland riots.

Kristina Narayan, who works for the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Tina Kotek, was arrested on Saturday night.

The legislative director was one of 59 people to be arrested during the riots that night police confirmed.

Tear gas was used by police as protests in Oregon's largest city raged on this weekend, nearly four months after they first began in May.

a steam engine is on a train track with smoke coming out of it: Tear gas was used by police as protests in Oregon's largest city raged on this weekend, nearly four months after they began in May when black man George Floyd was killed by a white police officer © Provided by Daily Mail Tear gas was used by police as protests in Oregon's largest city raged on this weekend, nearly four months after they began in May when black man George Floyd was killed by a white police officer

Ms Narayan was booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center after her arrest.

An official statement lists Ms Narayan as 'resisting a peace officer', while the 58 other offenders' crimes ranged from assaulting police officers to disorderly conduct.

'Kristina Narayan was arrested for interfering with a police officer after the event became a riot and the crowd was given multiple orders to disperse, which she did not do,' a spokesperson told Fox News.

So far neither Ms Narayan or Ms Kotek have publicly responded to the arrest as pressure builds on the under fire staffer.

Ms Narayan describes her job as synthesizing 'complex ideas into clear work products, policies, and build consensus to help pass legislation'. 

a screenshot of a cell phone

© Provided by Daily Mail

People living in Portland called on Ms Kotek to denounce her staffer's actions or resign.

One said: 'Tina Kotek what do you have to say about your staffer Kristina Naraya being arrested for interfering with police? Oregonians are waiting for an answer.'

Another added: 'Kristina Narayan doesn't share your goal of peace and security. Will you hold her accountable?' 

a group of people crossing a street at night: Protestors began marching from Ventura Park to East Portland Community Policing Center at 9pm on Saturday, on the 101st day of protests in Portland. Pictured: Armed officer's patrolling the streets on Friday night © Provided by Daily Mail Protestors began marching from Ventura Park to East Portland Community Policing Center at 9pm on Saturday, on the 101st day of protests in Portland. Pictured: Armed officer's patrolling the streets on Friday night

Protestors began marching from Ventura Park to East Portland Community Policing Center at 9pm on Saturday.

Portland Police said: 'Multiple fire bombs, mortars, rocks, and other items were thrown at law enforcement during a riot Saturday night in Southeast Portland.

'Many in the crowd were carrying large shields and dressed in protective gear including helmets, gas masks, body armor, and all black clothing. It was clear that the intent of the crowd was not peaceful protest.'

A police vehicle outfitted with a loudspeaker advised the crowd that, for the safety of city employees and all community members, the march would not be allowed to proceed that direction.

a person posing for the camera: Ms Narayan has worked for Ms Kotek since September 2016, when she joined the legislator's staff as a health care policy advisor © Provided by Daily Mail Ms Narayan has worked for Ms Kotek since September 2016, when she joined the legislator's staff as a health care policy advisor

At about 9.15pm, as the crowd approached officers, individuals began throwing multiple fire bombs at officers, police said. 

One of them caught a community member on fire, who was taken to hospital for treatment.

Police said protesters threw fireworks and rocks at officers and several of them were injured.

The protesters continued for four hours, with some lighting fires dumpsters, garbage cans, and wooden pallets on the street.

Officers lit tear gas and moved in on the protesters after issuing a warning. 

Portland Police said: 'During numerous confrontations with officers, individuals launched attacks on law enforcement, including throwing objects. 

'A sergeant was directly struck by a commercial grade firework, which burned through his glove and injured his hand.

'Several officers and troopers were struck by rocks in the head, arms, shoulders, and feet. Only their protective gear prevented serious injury.'

Two of the people arrested were wearing body armor. One had a dagger, another had a knife.

Ms Narayan has worked for Tina Kotek since September 2016, when she joined the legislator's staff as a health care policy advisor. 

Kevin de Leon, Tina Kotek are posing for a picture: In July this year, Tina Kotek wrote a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, scolding him for the aggressive tactics used by Portland Police during the protests © Provided by Daily Mail In July this year, Tina Kotek wrote a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, scolding him for the aggressive tactics used by Portland Police during the protests a group of people walking down the street: Police say protestors threw fireworks and rocks at officers and several of them were injured. Pictured: Officers threw tear gas in the streets on the night before Saturday's protest © Provided by Daily Mail Police say protestors threw fireworks and rocks at officers and several of them were injured. Pictured: Officers threw tear gas in the streets on the night before Saturday's protest

Ms Kotek, 53, was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in July 2007.

In July this year, Ms Kotek wrote a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, scolding him for the aggressive tactics used by Portland Police during the protests.

'It was an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech,' Kotek said about a protest on Wednesday, July 1. 

'It showed an utter inability to exercise restraint. 

'Smart policing is when an officer can differentiate a minor provocation from a serious threat. Nothing about this was smart.' 

It comes after the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defended his response to protests in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday.

The agency has been criticised for overstepping its authority with a heavy-handed deployment that reflected the law-and-order re-election campaign of President Donald Trump.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf ranked the civil unrest in downtown Portland as among the top threats facing the United States, along with the Covid-19 pandemic, election interference and drug trafficking along the southern border.

In a 'State of the Homeland' speech that spelled out the department's priorities, Wolf said: 'Let me be clear. 

'Those who seek to undermine our democratic institutions, indiscriminately destroy businesses and attack law enforcement officers and fellow citizens are a threat to the Homeland.' 

Trump last month nominated Wolf to be the secretary of the department but it's not yet clear when the Senate will take up the nomination. 

DHS is the third-largest agency in the federal government. 

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