Portland man who drove at police during 2020 protest found guilty of 2 charges, including reckless driving

A jury on Thursday found a Portland man guilty of felony elude and reckless driving after he drove his car at a group of police officers and protesters gathered outside the Southeast Portland police precinct in July 2020.

A Multnomah County Circuit judge sentenced Timothy Swales, 33, to a year-and-a-half of probation and temporarily revoked his license, court records show.

More than 150 protesters gathered outside the precinct on July 16, 2020, blocking traffic on Burnside Street near 47th Avenue. At about 11:40 p.m., Portland police declared an unlawful assembly, and officers formed a line across Burnside and began marching west to move the crowd away from the precinct, according to court records.

As the officers were walking, Swales – driving a black car with no plates – turned west on Burnside and drove past several officers, who waved and yelled at him to stop. Swales continued driving slowly west, getting closer to the line of officers from behind, court records show.

Police approached Swales’s car and ordered him to stop, but he continued driving, holding his cell phone up as if he were recording a video or taking photos. One officer tried to open the front passenger door of Swales’s car, but it was locked, court records show.

Swales stopped his car, but then lurched forward several times towards officers who were trying to get him to stop, the district attorney’s office said.

One officer tried to break a side window of the car to get inside, but Swales put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated backwards, going about 30 miles per hour, according to court records.

Concerned that Swales was putting people in the area at risk, an officer drove a patrol car into Swales’ vehicle, stopping him. Swales then tried to flee on foot but was arrested, the district attorney’s office said.

Police found an open can of beer in the car’s center console and license plates that had been removed from the car, court records show.

Swales pleaded not guilty in January 2021 to six charges, including reckless driving, interfering with a peace officer and two counts each of recklessly endangering another person and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. The count of interfering with a police officer was dismissed on Monday.

— Catalina Gaitán, cgaitan@oregonian.com, @catalingaitan_

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