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'They were criminals' — driver stuck in Portland BLM protest calls plea deal 'a joke'

PORTLAND (WGME) — The driver who got caught up in the middle of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Portland last July is calling the plea deal between the protesters and the District Attorney's Office "a joke."

For the first time since the demonstration, we're hearing from the driver who was inside the SUV that night.

"They're running over surrounding my car, kicking, screaming, yelling, poking, and threatening," said Tim Amoroso.

Amoroso said he had just had dinner and was leaving the Old Port.

"I got my car, and I pulled out, took a right, hugged to the right side; they immediately ran out to my car," he said.

CBS 13 video from that night appears to support what he says happened.

"Commercial is a very wide road, as I'm sure you know, and they were in the middle, screaming and yelling and then they just ran over to my car," he explained.

A veteran, who spent 30 years in the military, Amoroso said marches and protests are key parts of our democracy and history, but the demonstration in Portland wasn't the way to do it.

"There's protesting and then there's being criminal; they were criminals that night. If they were just doing normal protesting, lawfully, I'd have so much more respect and I'd even maybe even listen to what they're talking about," he said.

He told CBS 13 he's disappointed in the decision by the District Attorney's Office to drop the charges.

"I think that's kind of a joke," he said.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ackerman said they investigated bringing charges against the demonstrators for the incident involving Amoroso and his SUV.

"The problem—we were never able to identify exactly who did that. Certainly he felt threatened by that conduct, and if we had the evidence to bring a charge, we would have," Ackerman said.

Amoroso thanked Portland police for keeping him and the public safe that night.

"Thank God for the police. Thank God they came around and surrounded the car, and that's when I stopped so they could push everybody aside," he said.

Amoroso said his SUV has some minor damage caused by the incident that night, but he's not receiving any compensation to get it fixed.

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