Man is serving time for attempted arson at courthouse

A federal judge sentenced a 23-year-old man to about a year and a half he spent in custody for attempted arson at the federal courthouse in Portland.

Prosecutors said Joseph Ybarra lit a device and threw it outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse around 3:15 a.m. on July 22, 2020, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

A US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent said the device fell and Ybarra picked it up and threw it twice more. It did not explode and no one was injured.

His attorney said Ybarra had just arrived in Portland and intended to turn himself into the authorities with a warrant for his arrest, but was unable to enter the justice center due to a crowd protesting against police brutality.

Instead, he “got carried away with it,” said his attorney, Andrew Kohlmetz.

Ybarra was intoxicated at the time and suffered from schizophrenia, his lawyer said.

“It was certainly not an act of politically motivated terrorism,” Kohlmetz told the court.

The Federal Courthouse and Justice Center in downtown Portland have become a regular focus of protests for more than 100 consecutive days of social justice protests that began after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd on 25 May 2020.


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Sandy A. Greer