Indiana man appears in US court involving Portland protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Indiana man accused of throwing an explosive toward police and smashing windows during protests in Portland, Oregon, appeared Tuesday in federal court and was detained pending further proceedings.

Malik Fard Muhammad, 24, of Indianapolis was taken into custody on a U.S. Marshals hold Friday after being released from state custody when the Portland Freedom Fund posted 10% of his state-ordered $2.1 million bail in a Multnomah County case stemming from the same allegations.

The Portland Freedom Fund takes donations to post bail for minority defendants.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Muhammad appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland on charges that include possession of unregistered destructive devices, engaging in civil disorder and obstructing law enforcement, and using explosives to commit a federal felony.

The count of carrying and using an explosive to obstruct law enforcement could bring a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years if he is convicted.

In Multnomah County Circuit Court, a 28-count indictment was returned against Muhammad on March 22. It includes two counts of attempted aggravated murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of riot, two counts of unlawful manufacture of an explosive device, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a loaded firearm in public.

Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Nathan Vasquez alleges that Muhammad traveled to Portland to engage in property destruction and violence during mass protests last fall and then returned to Indiana.

Efforts to reach an attorney for Muhammad weren’t immediately successful.

The $212,500 provided in bail for Muhammad was the largest donation that the Portland Freedom Fund made in a single case to get someone out of custody pending trial, according to its president Amanda Trujillo. The fund has posted bail for just under 100 people since the beginning of 2020, Trujillo said.

“We were fortunate to have just received a large grant,” Trujillo said. “Malik is facing serious charges and it is difficult to prepare a defense from a jail cell.”

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