Christian MilNeil with his attorney, Tina Nadeau, discusses the dismissal of a 2020 criminal mischief charge against him. Police accused him of writing an anti-police message on a picnic table at a public housing complex. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Three years after Portland police charged a local man with criminal mischief after finding graffiti written about one of their officers on a picnic table, they have agreed to dismiss the charge.

Christian MilNeil, 42, was charged with criminal mischief in June 2020. Police believed MilNeil had written a critical message about Lt. Nicholas Goodman on the table outside Bayside East, a public housing community, according to court records.

“Sgt. Nicholas Goodman shot Chance Baker in the head. Chance was unarmed. Broad daylight!” the table graffiti read. In 2017, Goodman shot a 22-year-old man seen wielding an air-powered pellet gun in a retail center parking lot and experiencing a mental health crisis.

“And now Sgt. Goodman is responsible for ‘policing’ the 2 most marginalized communities in Portland. WTF!!?” it continued.

A prosecutor who signed the motion for dismissal Wednesday wrote that she was doing so “at the request of Lt. Goodman,” days before MilNeil was finally scheduled to take his case to trial.

MilNeil has maintained his innocence and previously told the Press Herald he believed the charge was the result of a series of critical tweets about the Portland Police Department, a claim the city has denied.


Before he was charged in 2020, MilNeil had been tweeting about a man Goodman shot in 2008, Wayne Kittrell. He said Wednesday that his case demonstrates a blind spot in the district attorney’s office when it comes to police.

“Any critique of law enforcement, they take very personally,” said Tina Nadeau, an attorney who represented MilNeil pro-bono. “Three years for a misdemeanor is appalling. It’s a waste of resources. It undermines any credibility in the system.”

Christian MilNeil told reporters Wednesday that he believes police charged him with criminal mischief in 2020 because he had criticized an officer on Twitter. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Spokesperson Brad Nadeau for Portland police declined to comment on the dismissal, citing state laws that bar police from discussing “confidential criminal history record information,” and he declined a request to speak with the police chief.

MilNeil edits Streets Blog Mass, a transit-focused blog and news website based in Boston, and is a former data journalist at the Portland Press Herald. He also serves as a commissioner on the Portland Public Housing Authority board and is a frequent advocate for public housing and public transit-focused planning initiatives.

Several Portland officers and housing authority officials said in court records that they could tell the graffiti messages were written by MilNeil because security camera footage captured near the picnic table shows a man with facial hair and loose clothing sitting at the table with a dog.

Shannon Rafferty-Roy, who works for the Portland Housing Authority overseeing the building, said in court records that she recognized MilNeil because he was a member of the Board of Commissioners for Portland Housing Authority and lived in the area. Rafferty-Roy did not respond to an email seeking to talk about her allegation and the dismissed charge Wednesday.


MilNeil showed reporters several photos Wednesday that he took of himself and his dog for comparison, which he said clearly shows it wasn’t him in the videos.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ackerman declined to comment further on the dismissal and a plea offer she extended to MilNeil last May.

According to emails from Nadeau that MilNeil shared Wednesday, that plea offer would have required him to pay $60 restitution for damage to the bench, as well as a $350 fine. If MilNeil didn’t accept that offer, Ackerman wrote, she could offer him nine months of deferred disposition, where he would have had to admit guilt and agree to a corrective action plan that included submitting public letters of apology to Goodman and the Public Housing Authority, before the charges would be cleared from his record.

“This ‘offer’ sucks,” Nadeau wrote in an email to MilNeil after receiving the offer.

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