A Portland man has been accused of repeatedly assaulting two federal officers with a vehicle during an incident over the weekend, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon said on Wednesday.
Lonnie Vantewa Albert, 55, has been charged for allegedly assaulting two Federal Protective Service officers with a sport utility vehicle on Aug. 30. Citing court documents, the U.S. attorney said the two officers, who were deployed to Portland as part of efforts to support federal law enforcement, noticed Albert while driving on east on Interstate 84.
One of the officers noticed that Albert, who was passing on their left, glanced towards him before making a sharp turn that nearly hit the officers’ vehicle. The driving officer tried to change lanes and pass Albert, but the 55-year-old swerved in order to block the officers, federal prosecutors alleged.
At one point, Albert made a sharp turn, striking the officers’ vehicle and caused his own vehicle to spin to a halt.
One of the officers got out of the vehicle to see if Albert was injured, but the 55-year-old drove toward this officer, then eventually fled the scene. The officers chased after him briefly to collect his license plate number and other identifying information.
Federal prosecutors said Albert exited the freeway and stopped his vehicle near a hospital, Adventist Health Portland. When the officers pulled into the hospital’s parking lot, Albert went and struck the officers’ vehicle a second time, the U.S. attorney said.
Albert was later arrested by the Portland Police Bureau. According to state booking records, he was initially charged with state offenses of reckless driving and failure to perform duties of a driver when property is damaged.
Albert made his first federal court appearance on Tuesday and was released on conditions pending more court proceedings. He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.
The U.S. attorney said the Federal Protective Service’s vehicle sustained visible dents, scratches, and other damage.
Amid civil unrest across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death, federal officers and employees have been subjected to various forms of assault and intimidation. Oregon’s largest city had seen unrest and nightly riots—broken up by occasional peaceful nights—since May 28.
Federal agents were sent to the city to protect the federal courthouse and surrounding areas from destruction. The violence had led to over 600 arrests between local and federal law enforcement. Meanwhile, more than 200 federal officers have been injured in Portland alone.
In an update on Monday, Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said 100 individuals have been federally arrested and 76 federally charged in Portland.
Last week, a 20-year-old was charged with forcibly assaulting, impeding, and intimidating a federal employee near the courthouse.