People gathered for Black Lives Matter rallies Saturday evening in Portland, Oregon, and a memorial was held for the man fatally shot last weekend after a right-wing caravan went through downtown, as daily demonstrations stretched well past the three-month mark in the city.
Hundreds of people gathered in a park just north of Portland in Vancouver, Washington, for a memorial service for Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer, who was killed Aug. 29. The suspect was himself shot and killed by police Thursday.
Families showed up at the event with their kids, lining up for the free BBQ and picnicking on the grass at Esther Short Park. As various speakers addressed the audience on stage, attendees waved their flags enthusiastically, occasionally breaking out into chants of “U-S-A!”
Many of the crowd were President Donald Trump supporters, wearing MAGA hats and shirts or holding Trump-Pence flags. Some also waved flags and wore T-shirts showing support for the police.
Some attendees also wore T-shirts with “Justice for J” that were handed out at the event.
Several local members of Proud Boys, a far-right group that has been involved in skirmishes at local protests, attended.
“We honor a man who died for what he believed in,” said James Johnson, who has been a member of the Proud Boys for two years.
Johnson, who is Black, said he disagreed with people who label the group as a white supremacist organization.
The crowded regularly erupted in boos with any mention of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, whom Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson demanded apologize to Danielson’s family because they felt he had been unfairly portrayed.
“This is about truth and lies,” Gibson said. “Jay was not a white supremacist.”
Authorities released additional court documents late Friday detailing the moments before Danielson’s slaying.
The documents included shots of security footage that showed the suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, ducked into a parking garage and reached toward a pocket or pouch at his waist before emerging to follow the victim. Danielson was holding bear spray and an expandable baton and had a loaded Glock handgun in a holster at his waist, according to the documents.
Authorities have said they believe Reinoehl, who was fatally shot by law enforcement officers late Thursday in Washington state, killed Danielson.
Witnesses told police that just before they heard gunshots someone said something like, “wanna go,” which is frequently a challenge to a fight. Danielson, 39, was shot in the chest and died at the scene.
The court documents were filed to support second-degree murder charges against Reinoehl, who was a supporter of antifa — shorthand for anti-fascists and an umbrella description for the far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events.
Demonstrations in Portland started in late May after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They have often been marked by vandalism and violence. Black Lives Matter rallies were taking place in the city Saturday evening and night, and BLM supporters drove vehicles through the city earlier Saturday.
At one event Saturday afternoon, people stenciled names on a pathway of Black people killed by police.
Late Friday protests continued into early Saturday in Portland, with police declaring an unlawful assembly and arresting 27 people.
A few hundred demonstrators had met at Kenton Park Friday before making their way to the Portland Police Association building, where officers warned protesters to stay off the streets and private property. Those who refused could be subject to citation, arrest, the use of tear gas, crowd-control agents or impact munitions, police said.
The Portland Police Bureau issued a statement Saturday morning saying some officers reported that rocks, a full beverage can and water bottles had been thrown at them, prompting police to declare the gathering an unlawful assembly.
Police said one woman who was detained was bleeding from an abrasion on her head, and she was treated by medics at the scene before being transported by an ambulance. The Portland Police Bureau said she jumped out of the ambulance and ran away before it left the scene, however.
Most of those arrested were arrested on suspicion of interfering with a peace officer or disorderly conduct, police said.
Source: Associated Press – JAIMIE DING and ARON RANEN