PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland man was sentenced to federal prison today for committing arson at the Multnomah County Justice Center during a protest in May 2020.
Edward Thomas Schinzing, 33, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.
“Edward Schinzing’s destructive action put Multnomah County employees and inmates in danger. The perceived anonymity of a crowd will not protect rioters who commit violent crimes under the guise of peaceful protest. Federal law enforcement will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute crimes committed during local riots,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.
“Actions such as those Mr. Schinzing took go far beyond one’s right to protest and endangered the lives of those working at and housed in the Justice Center. This sentence is well deserved. ATF has investigated, and will continue to vigorously investigate, violent criminal acts such as these,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.
“The night of the arson, there were hundreds of people in the Justice Center, including almost 300 inmates. Edward Schinzing deserves to be held accountable for his choices that night—choices grounded in a complete disregard for the lives of others,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
According to court documents, on May 29, 2020, Schinzing marched with a group of protesters to the Multnomah County Justice Center. When the group arrived, several people broke windows and entered the building. Three civilian Multnomah County employees were working inside the Corrections Records Officer when the windows were broken and quickly fled for safety.
Schinzing was among those who entered the building. Some in the group spray-painted portions of the office; damaged computers and other office equipment, furniture, and interior windows; and started fires. Schinzing, who was identified on surveillance cameras by a distinctive tattoo of his last name across his upper back, spread a fire started near the front of the office by igniting papers and moving them into the drawer of another cubicle.
A few minutes later, the building’s sprinkler system activated, extinguishing the fire, and law enforcement officers secured the building. At the time of the fire, the Multnomah County Detention Center, located in the Justice Center complex, housed approximately 289 inmates.
On August 5, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Schinzing with arson. On September 30, 2020, he pleaded guilty to the single charge.
As part of his plea agreement, Schinzing has agreed to pay restitution to Multnomah County as determined by the government and ordered by the court. A final order of restitution will be issued by the court within 90 days.
Acting U.S. Attorney Asphaug, ATF Special Agent in Charge McPherson, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Ramsey made the announcement.
This case was investigated by ATF and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.