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Portland man sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for hand in 2020 Justice Center fire

33-year-old Schinzing was identified by police on surveillance footage by the tattoo of his own last name he has on his back.
Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Damage to the Justice Center in downtown Portland.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A 33-year-old Portland man will serve 15 months in federal prison for his part in property destruction and arson that took place at the Multnomah County Justice Center on May 29, 2020.

During the summer of nightly protests in 2020, the Justice Center in downtown Portland was a common meeting place for protesting crowds big and small. On May 29, 2020, windows were broken and some people entered the Justice Center. A fire was set and property was damaged. At the time, the Justice center housed 298 inmates.

Edward Schinzing, 33, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for his part in the fire and property damage. He was identified by law enforcement by the tattoo of his last name which he has on his back.

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“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.

According to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s office, documents show that Schinzing marched with a group of protesters to the Justice Center and he was among the people who entered the building. Some in the group spray painted inside the building, damaged property like computers and furniture and interior windows. However, surveillance footage showed Schinzing spreading the fire that had been started by lighting papers on fire and putting them into another cubicle drawer.

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“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.

Shortly after the fire started, the building’s sprinkler system activated and put the fire out and police were able to secure the building.

“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.

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.

The video below is from 2020.