The FBI and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department arrested a man Friday for allegedly attacking Portland police officers with fire bombs and smashing windows at protests last fall.
On Monday, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced a 28-count indictment against Malik Muhammed, 24, including several counts of attempted murder and attempted assault, riot, unlawful possession of a destructive device and unlawful possession of a firearm, among others.
“I am grateful to the investigators who spent many hours over the last few months following up these violent attacks against police officers and the community,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. “More investigations are underway. Anyone who thinks they can get away with trying to murder police officers and destroy this city should think again.”
Muhammed, who lives in Indianapolis, traveled to Portland “for the specific purpose of engaging in the multiple criminal episodes and behavior that this case is based upon,” prosecutors stated in court documents.
Prosecutors laid out four incidents where, they said, Muhammed destroyed property and jeopardized police officer’s lives.
On Sept. 21, an officer saw a burning object flying through the air toward their vehicle parked outside the Penumbra Kelly Building in Southeast Portland. The bottle was yellow and about the size of a beer growler with a burnt rag stuffed into the mouth of the bottle, court documents state. It was filled with flammable liquid.
“FBI agents in plain clothing were in the crowd and observed a black male throw the growler and provided a description of the male,” court documents state.
Police found a Goodwill tag on the bottle and were able to go to the store where it had been purchased. Store surveillance video allegedly showed Muhammed and his girlfriend buying multiple beer growlers, two which were yellow, along with “a large amount of” bats, according to court filings. Investigators also said they found a close correlation to Muhammed’s DNA on the bottle.
Two days later, during a protest in downtown Portland outside the Multnomah County Justice Center, a large yellow bottle was thrown at officers as they pushed back protesters, court documents state. When the bottle hit, it exploded into a fireball. Officers ran to get out of the way. One “was sprayed with fire and his lower leg caught on fire for a brief moment,” court documents state.
Protestor throws Molotov at police pic.twitter.com/i3afKRalAT— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) September 24, 2020
Police say the man who threw it had a unique bag that matched one Muhammed wore in a Facebook photo. Police also searched his phone after he was arrested Oct. 11.
“The cell phone contained a photo of the defendant that matches the person observed throwing the bottle,” court documents state. “The cell phone also contained a shopping list including common ingredients used to make a Molotov cocktail.”
On Oct. 11, plain clothes FBI agents reported seeing Muhammed as part of a crowd of about 250 protesters, court documents state.
“FBI agents reported that during the event they observed the defendant use a metal baton to smash out the windows of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland State University, and many other businesses,” prosecutors wrote.
When Portland police officers attempted to arrest Muhammed, he reportedly ran behind several barrels and briefly paused. When he was arrested not long after, police found a loaded magazine in his pocket with 30 rounds of ammunition. The magazine fit a pistol officers recovered from behind the barrels where Muhammed allegedly ran.
Muhammed is currently being held in Indiana’s Marion County Jail and is expected to be sent to Multnomah County after an extradition hearing.