Hate crime victim arrested at protest won't be prosecuted

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The Oregonian

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2020, file photo, Demetria Hester reacts to verdicts of guilty on all twelve counts at the Jeremy Christian trial in Portland, Ore. One of the protesters arrested in Portland, Oregon early Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, is a Black woman who was assaulted by a white supremacist in a high-profile case three years ago and who now leads a group of "moms" in racial justice protests each night. Hester, 46, was booked on suspicion of disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer during a protest that began Sunday night and stretched into the early morning hours. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, Pool, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Black woman who became a leading activist in the Black Lives Matter movement after she was assaulted by a white supremacist three years ago won't be charged after her arrest early Monday fueled anger among protest leaders in Portland, Oregon, authorities said.

Demetria Hester, 46, was booked on suspicion of disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer during the protest that began Sunday night. The Multnomah County district attorney's office later said Hester would not be prosecuted but offered no further details.

Hester's arrest drew a sharp rebuke from national Black Lives Matter activists, who are increasingly focusing on demonstrations in Oregon's largest city.

After her release, Hester said at a news conference that she would keep protesting and joined others in announcing plans for a fundraiser to send Black mothers to Washington, D.C.

“I was born and bred to do this. This is a dream come true,” Hester said, tearing up as the crowd cheered. “This is a revolution and we're getting reparations. We're taking it to D.C., baby!"

Hester and 15 other people were arrested during Portland's 73rd consecutive nights of protest. A group of about 200 demonstrators gathered at a park and then marched to the police union headquarters, where some people set fires outside the building and launched fireworks at officers.

Two officers were injured, including one who was burned on the neck when a firework exploded, police said.

Police declared a riot shortly after 10 p.m. and began arresting people, including Hester.