2 men charged after filming Portland public officials' homes
Jul. 27, 2017
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two men known for recording Portland City Council meetings, police arrests and local protests are facing charges with bail amounts typically set for violent crimes.
Robert West and Eli Richey were charged with a misdemeanor for unlawfully obtaining communications after the men went to the homes of Portland police Chief Mike Marshman, Capt. Mark Kruger, Sgt. Leo Besner and Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill to film, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (http://bit.ly/2w3zeey ) Thursday.
The men got close-up images of their home addresses and personal license plate numbers and also included Underhill's son answering the door in their footage.
Richey is also accused of trespassing and telephonic harassment. His bail was set at $250,000.
West's bail remains $25,000, after a judge rejected a recommendation to raise it to $100,000, but the judge did order West to stay at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from police when they are on-duty.
Christopher Ponte, who also filmed the officials' homes with West and Richey, was served a temporary stalking order after going to Kruger's home on July 10.
"We're just trying to get some interviews to ask him about his past," he said.
Under Oregon law, citizens are allowed to film law enforcement or public officials when they are on-duty without prior notice. The law does not cover filming people on private property or filming into someone's house.
James Hayden, a Multnomah County deputy district attorney, said the three men were no strangers to the District Attorney's office, but said they hadn't felt the need to press charges until recently since they felt the trio's behavior was escalating.
The men are heard shouting expletives at police officers in one video, and said they would go to the officers' homes next and go to their kids' schools and film them.
"We take it very seriously," Hayden said. "We think their actions are alarming. We think these actions and visits to officials' homes are intended to intimidate them."
West does not consider his actions harassment. His lawyer argued that West, a registered sex offender who is on probation for disorderly conduct, does not pose a public safety risk.
"My reading of this is Mr. West is an annoyance to the powers that be," said defense lawyer Keith Rogers.
Instead of being discouraged, West said the charges and attempts to raise his bail only irritate him and makes him want to go do more.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com