Man who threw flare into cop car during May 1 protests gets 5 years
A 23-year-old man who threw burning flares into a Portland police cruiser and the downtown Target store during May 1 protests that overran downtown Portland admitted guilt Monday and will be sentenced to five years in prison.
A local TV station aired live footage of Damion Zachary Feller hurling a flare through a shattered picture window at Target, prompting employees to run with fire extinguishers to put out a burning section of carpet. TV and cellphone cameras also caught Feller throwing a flare through the shattered window of a battered police SUV parked across the street from Target, at Southwest 10th Avenue and Morrison.
Other people clad all in black or wearing masks can be seen on the videos kicking or whacking windows of the police car seconds before Feller swoops in with the flares.
Police identified Feller as among a group of about 20 anarchists who descended on downtown as peaceful May Day protesters spoke about a variety of social issues. Officers arrested 25 people that day for vandalizing property, setting fires, throwing rocks and other violence.
Feller wasn’t arrested until two days later after officers who recognized his image from the videos spotted him on the streets of downtown.
Detectives showed him a photograph of the person who threw one of the flares and he replied: “I saw that online, and I knew I was (expletive),” according to a probable cause affidavit.
Feller admitted he was guilty and told detectives that he became part of the “mob mentality,” according to the affidavit.
On Monday, Feller offered no statements in Multnomah County Circuit Court. He wore a blue jail uniform as he stood beside his public defender, DeAnna Horne.
Feller pleaded guilty to first-degree arson, second-degree arson, riot and first-degree criminal mischief. He is scheduled to be sentenced to five years in prison during an October hearing.
He also was charged in federal court for his crimes. But as part of his plea deal, he won’t be sentenced to any additional prison time.
Feller will be eligible for release from prison after four years, if he gets time off for good behavior.
Shortly after his arrest, Feller told authorities that he doesn’t talk to his family, which includes his grandmother in Longview and his parents in Colorado. He said he’d been homeless for the past year, been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and smoked marijuana daily.
He said he’s unemployed, although he occasionally picks up odd jobs through the temporary job service Labor Ready.
Feller had no history of criminal convictions, although court records show he previously had been arrested five times in Oregon, Colorado and Texas on allegations of committing nonviolent crimes or failing to appear in court. He still faces pending charges of theft and criminal trespass in Umatilla County.