Kristina Narayan, 29, was arrested late Saturday night and charged with interfering with a police officer after law enforcement declared the protests a riot in Portland.
Narayan has worked for Oregon House Speaker Rep. Tina Kopek since September 2016, and she has served as the legislative director since May 2018.
“Kristina Narayan was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer after the event became a riot and the crowd was given multiple orders to disperse, which she did not do,” Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Officer Derek Carmon said in a statement.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office records show that Narayan was arrested and booked in jail at 2:07 a.m. on Sunday, was released later that day, and did not have to pay bail. Her case was dismissed on Monday, according to Kotek’s office.
Kotek defended her aid and said that the “freedom of expression” is the “foundation of democracy,” and that she would support anyone trying to uphold it.
“Every person—including members of my staff—has the right to stand up for what they believe and engage in nonviolent resistance,” she said.
“Kristina’s experience is similar to what other Portlanders have experienced over the last few months,” Kotek continued. “We need peace and accountability.”
Narayan was among the 59 people who were arrested after the protests devolved into a violent riot.
Protesters threw “multiple fire bombs at officers,” catching a community member on fire, according to a police release. Rocks, fireworks, and mortars were also thrown at officers.
“This criminal activity presented an extreme danger to life safety for all community members, and prompted a declaration of a riot,” the release stated.
“The crowd was advised over loudspeaker that it was a riot and they were to leave the area to the east immediately” or risk arrest, it said.
Narayan blamed her arrest on officers “intentionally stacking charges for nonviolent, non-destructive protesters to dissuade protest and stifle freedom of expression.”
She expressed her concern “that officers often police protests with the indiscriminate view that everyone is violent and destructive, or endorses violence and destruction, when that is not the case,” she said.