September 18, 2020

topicofthetown

Design your heritage

Donald Trump threatens to send federal forces back into the city; Mayor Ted Wheeler seeks new home

As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to increase law enforcement in Portland faced criticism, President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to send federal forces back into the city, a day after he defended his supporters’ actions during a caravan that preceded the fatal shooting of a supporter of a right-wing group.

“We’re ready, willing and able to send in, you know, a massive group of people that are really highly trained,” Trump said in a meeting with law enforcement officers and Attorney General William Barr in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “We could solve that problem in less than an hour in Portland … and at some point, Bill, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.”

Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, was fatally shot in Portland on Saturday after clashes between Trump supporters and protesters erupted in the city, which has seen nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody, in May.

Police released few details about the shooting and have not named a suspect. Danielson wore a hat with an insignia for a right-wing group active in Portland.

Video and photos Saturday showed both sides shouting and lobbing projectiles at each other. Some images showed people in vehicles in a pro-Trump caravan firing paintballs at protesters. Other videos showed cars nearly running over protesters.

“Paint is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets,” Trump said during a White House briefing Monday. Someone connected with violent protests “shot a young gentleman and killed him,” he said. “Not with paint but with a bullet.”

Nearby sheriff’s offices that Brown called on to come to Portland to aid police officers in patrolling protests dismissed her plan Monday.

More on Patriot Prayer: What is the right-wing group linked to Portland confrontations and who is Joey Gibson?

Here’s what we know Tuesday:

Sheriffs: Brown’s plan won’t end ‘cycle of violence’ in Portland

Brown released details of her peace plan Sunday, which includes deploying Oregon State Police, asking for help from law enforcement and calling on the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute arson and other violent offenses.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said adding more law enforcement to the mix wouldn’t work unless Portland’s newly elected district attorney is harder on protesters. Roberts said that too often, demonstrators arrested on low-level crimes are released.

“The same offenders are arrested night after night, only to be released by the court and not charged with a crime by the DA’s office. The next night, they are back at it, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the community all over again,” Roberts said. “The criminal justice system will need to do its part and hold offenders accountable.”

Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett was also critical of Brown’s plan. On Tuesday, Gresham police also declined to play a role.

Brown’s plan includes creating a forum among the city’s Black leaders and Mayor Ted Wheeler. Trump has often lashed out at Wheeler for the unrest, calling him a “joke of a mayor” and a “fool” in the wake of the shooting.

Black leaders expressed concern over the plan, which would increase law enforcement on the streets.

“If you’re just there, the odds of getting arrested at this point are almost so high as to the point of being guaranteed,” Shanice Clarke, a founder of the Black Millennial Movement, told The Associated Press.

Wheeler needs to do more than “just showing up to a press conference and saying it’s Trump’s fault” for Black people to feel they are being listened to, she said.

Visual timeline from Kenosha: Violence after police shooting of Jacob Blake

Mayor Ted Wheeler plans to find new place to live after protests at his building

The Oregonian reported Tuesday night that Mayor Ted Wheeler is looking for a new place to live following repeated demonstrations at his Pearl District condo building.

Monday night’s demonstration included demands for his resignation, the newspaper reported.

In an email on Tuesday to other residents of the 144-unit high-rise building, Wheeler said it would be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” for him to find a new home.

The Oregonian reported on Monday night that people lit a fire with newspapers and tossed a picnic table in it. Windows on the ground floor were broken, and some protesters took items from a dental office.

Video shared by New York Times reporter Mike Baker showed police swarm in and make arrests. Police declared the mass gathering a riot late Monday and arrested 19 people, according to a news release.

Demonstrators have rallied in Portland every night since Floyd, a Black man, died as a white Minneapolis police officer dug his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. His death led to massive protests around the country.

The unrest in Portland has ebbed and flowed, but tensions were reignited when Trump ordered federal agents to the city to protect a federal courthouse and quell violence.

Those agents withdrew July 31, but smaller nightly protests have continued in pockets of the city. More than 600 people have been arrested since late May.

‘People’s worst fears’ came alive: In Kenosha, guns, militia inject chilling dimension into protests

What happened during the caravan, shooting?

Danielson was shot about 15 minutes after the caravan left downtown Portland on Saturday.

The group of vehicles rolled into the city after a rally in nearby Clackamas. Fights and skirmishes broke out between Trump supporters and protesters. Video showed both sides hurling objects. Protesters lit Trump flags on fire and lobbed water bottles. Trump supporters fired paintball guns and pepper spray as they drove into some protesters.

Hours before he was fatally shot, Danielson and a friend headed downtown to the caravan. They wore hats with the insignia of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer and appeared armed with knives and paintball guns.

In a video of the shooting, three shots are heard before Danielson falls to the ground.

Sheriff: 2 Los Angeles deputies killed Black man who dropped a handgun

What is Patriot Prayer?

Based in Washington state, Patriot Prayer is a right-wing group “about fighting corruption, big government, and tyranny using God for strength and the power of love,” founder Joey Gibson wrote on the group’s Facebook page.

The group has often clashed with protesters in Portland, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which advocates for civil rights, said Patriot Prayer members often engage in violence against their political opponents.

“Our concern now is that (far-right groups in Portland) will use this tragic death as an excuse to act with even more impunity against anti-fascists, leftists, Black Lives Matter activists and journalists,” said Cassie Miller, senior research analyst for the SPLC.

Gibson called Danielson a friend and wrote on Facebook, “We love Jay and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived.”

Chandler Pappas, who was seen next to Danielson on Saturday, told a rally Sunday that the man was “Christian” and “conservative.”

“He was a good man, and he was just killed senselessly for no reason other than he believed something different than they do,” Pappas said.

Contributing: John Bacon, Jordan Culver, Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Portland protests: Donald Trump defends caravan; Kate Brown plan