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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 4, 2020

Portland Man Charged with Civil Disorder After Assaulting Police Officers with Bear Spray

PORTLAND, Ore.—Kevin Phomma, 26, of Portland, has been charged by criminal complaint with civil disorder, a felony, after assaulting several police officers with bear spray during an unlawful assembly on August 26, 2020.

According to court documents, on August 26, 2020, protesters gathered near the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on South Macadam Avenue in Portland, blocking city streets. The crowd spray-painted the building’s façade and threw projectiles at federal agents. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security declared the event an unlawful assembly at approximately 10:45 p.m. Minutes later, the Portland Police Bureau instructed the crowd to disperse and issued a use-of-force warning for non-compliance.

As Portland officers began dispersing the crowd, Phomma was witnessed pepper spraying officers. Phomma positioned himself with a shield in one hand and a spray can in the other. Phomma doused several officers with pepper spray while they attempted to arrest him. Once in custody, officers discovered the pepper spray was in fact a powerful bear deterrent pepper spray. While searching Phomma, officers also found a sheathed, three-inch dagger attached to his hip. Phomma was later released.

Today, Phomma turned himself in to the U.S. Marshals Service. He made his first appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and was released pending further proceedings. If convicted, Phomma faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Updated September 4, 2020