Prosecutors bring federal charges for fire at Portland police union headquarters
A federal grand jury has charged a 19-year-old with arson in connection with an April 13 fire at the building of the Portland Police Association, the union that represents rank-and-file police officers.
Alma Raven-Guido was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday. She spent the night in the Multnomah County Jail before making her initial appearance in federal court Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Justice is bringing the federal arson charge because, it said, the police union’s “building was used in interstate commerce and in activity affecting interstate commerce,” according to the May 4 indictment. The government does not explain in its charging document how the building was used for interstate commerce.
Raven-Guido pleaded not guilty and a trial date was for July. If convicted of the charges, she would face a five-year mandatory minimum stay in prison with up to a 20-year maximum sentence.
The Multnomah County district attorney’s office has also charged Raven-Guido with state felonies, including second degree arson, riot and criminal mischief.
Oregon’s U.S. attorneys office and the county district attorney’s office worked together.
“The DA’s office supports this federal prosecution for the very reason Ms. Raven-Guido’s conduct was so aggravated,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said during her hearing on Thursday.
On April 13, a group of around 100 people gathered in Kenton Park before marching to the police union headquarters, according to state court documents.
An informant “with a history of providing credible and reliable information on multiple prior investigations” told police they witnessed Raven-Guido pouring liquid from three plastic bottles “on the fire and causing the fire to grow,” according to court documents.
Federal public defender Francesca Freccero argued for Raven-Guido’s pre-trial release, noting she is a student at the University of Oregon and has a job.
“She is humbled by this circumstance, certainly,” Freccero told the judge. “She was taken from her home by surprise, she has spent the night in jail.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel countered that Raven-Guido should remain in detention because she posed a threat to the community.
“This was a premeditated arson,” Gabriel told the court. “Ms. Raven-Guido poured three bottles of a flammable liquid on a fire in a residential neighborhood. This fire burned out of control to the point where a neighbor from the house right next door had to bring over a garden hose to try and put it out to try and protect that neighbor’s property.”
Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo ultimately granted Raven-Guido’s release from custody.
Russo ordered Raven-Guido to comply with conditions of her release, which requires a curfew and will allow her to go to class and work.
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