Portland Oregon has over the past several months become home to “peaceful protesters” but this time, they may have gone too far. On May 29th, 2020, the Justice Center in Portland was set on fire and now, 32 year old, Edward Thomas Schinzing is being charged with arson.
According to the DoJ, Schinzing is being “charged by criminal complaint with using fire to maliciously damage or destroy the Justice Center in downtown Portland on May 29, 2020.”
Schinzing was reportedly marching with protesters when at around 11:00 p.m. people began breaking windows of the Justice Center. The building was then entered by around 30 individuals. Three civilian workers in the Corrections Records Office were forced to flee when the violence began.
As helpful as social media has been for protestors and activists, it was in this case, their downfall, as videos surfaced on YouTube, Twitter, and other public video and picture sites of the destruction. The videos picked up broken windows, spray paint, the damaging of personal and state-owned property, and finally the starting of fires.
Schinzing was caught by one of the videos, being clearly recognized by the tattoo of his last name across his back.
When a fire started at the front of the building, Schinzing caught pieces of paper on fire and then stashed them places to cause a more devastating burnout.
The building was largely saved by the sprinkler system at 11:08 p.m. Law enforcement officers then arrived and secured the building.
On July 28th, 2020, Schinzing appeared in court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He “was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.” If convicted, Schinzing will face up to 20 years in prison and a minimum of 5 years.
The DoJ stated that “Criminal complaints are only accusations of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”