Staffer for Top Oregon Democrat Arrested During Riot in Portland

Staffer for Top Oregon Democrat Arrested During Riot in Portland
Police officers pass a fire lit by rioters in Portland, Ore. on Sept. 5, 2020. (Noah Berger/AP Photo)
Zachary Stieber

The legislative director for the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives was arrested during rioting in Portland over the weekend, arrest records show.

Kristina Narayan, 29, of Portland, was arrested for interfering with a peace officer.

“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 Portland police spokesman told The Epoch Times in an email.

Law enforcement arrested 59 people during the riot, which started late Saturday and went into the early hours of Sunday.

An angry mob hurled fire bombs and mortars at police officers, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

The mayhem led to nearly 150 emergency calls being placed on hold at one point around 2 a.m.

One of the fire bombs lit someone on fire. Video footage showed the man frantically trying to stamp out the flames.

He was later taken to a hospital via private vehicle.

Narayan has worked for state Rep. Tina Kotek, a Democrat, for over four years, according to her LinkedIn page. She became Kotek’s legislative director in May 2018.

Kotek, 53, was elected to the state House in July 2007.

Requests for comment sent to Narayan and Kotek weren’t returned.

Kristina Narayan in a mugshot. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)
Kristina Narayan in a mugshot. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)
Narayan’s charge will likely be dropped under a recent policy change from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. Federal prosecutors have been pursing some people arrested during riots because of the policy.

Kotek has spoken out against the police response to the unrest, which has shaken Portland since May 28.

In a letter to Portland Mayor and Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, in June, Kotek said the actions by police officers responding to a riot on June 30 were “completely unacceptable.”

“Instead of managing the situation, they created an unsafe situation and a public health hazard with their use of CS gas, in a residential area (and near several gas stations, I might add). It was an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech,” Kotek wrote.

“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. As the Police Commissioner, I implore you to take action to keep this from happening again.”

Portland police officials said demonstrators hurled baseball-sized rocks and other projectiles at officers, launched mortars at them, and shined green lasers in their eyes.

Efforts to disperse the crowd lasted into the early hours of July 1.

“We have experienced weeks of demonstrations that have turned into almost nightly unlawful assemblies, civil disturbances, and riots. We have had law enforcement facilities and personnel targeted with violence, including the barricading and burning of an occupied police facility on more than one occasion,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said at the time.

“Last night, another march occurred, this time in a residential neighborhood where many families were at home and some were likely sleeping. Some have said we are only protecting an empty building and the force used was excessive. My response to that is we would have seen one building lit on fire in a neighborhood where a commercial building fire could have led to residences being burned with families inside. Life safety for all is our number one priority. We are determined to protect our community. This is bigger than property; it is about human lives.”