State Watch

Oregon state police returning to Portland after fatal shooting

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is mobilizing the state police in response to the unrest in Portland, which was the site of a deadly shooting over the weekend following clashes between supporters of President Trump and Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

The governor on Sunday released a “Unified Law Enforcement Plan” that she said is designed to protect protesters’ rights to free speech while also ending the violence. The six-point plan notes the Oregon State Police will deploy personnel and resources to Portland to assist local authorities. Brown’s office said the governor has also asked multiple nearby police departments and sheriff’s offices to assist Portland police. 

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is also prepared to prosecute offenses including acts of arson and physical violence, according to the plan. 

“We all must come together—elected officials, community leaders, all of us—to stop the cycle of violence,” Brown said in a statement. “But this is only the first step. Real change will come from the hard work to achieve racial justice. And it starts with all of us listening to each other, and working together.”

A man was shot and killed on Saturday night in Portland following a day in which a caravan of Trump supporters entered the city and clashed with counterprotesters. Their presence led to fights, disturbances and collisions, police said, however it remains unclear whether the shooting was linked to the skirmishes. 

The victim of the shooting was wearing a hat with “Patriot Prayer” emblazoned across the front, according to reports. Patriot Prayer is a far-right group based in Portland that has repeatedly fought with protesters. Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson identified the victim as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, The Associated Press reported

Portland has seen daily protests since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In July, it was the site of violent clashes between demonstrators and federal law enforcement after the Trump administration deployed officers to protect a federal courthouse. Trump on Sunday repeatedly attacked Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) and local leaders, claiming they were responsible for the violence and that the National Guard should be called in. 

He also branded the group of Trump supporters who traveled to Portland “Great Patriots” in a tweet. Trump later Sunday retweeted the shooting victim’s name, adding “Rest In Peace Jay!”

Brown condemned Patriot Prayer’s actions, saying the group entered Portland on Saturday “armed and looking for a fight.” However, she stressed gun violence should “never, ever be the answer.”

“Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence,” she said. “I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”

Wheeler late last week sent an open letter to Trump rejecting the president’s repeated calls for federal intervention in the city. After the president labeled him “incompetent” and a “fool” on Sunday, the mayor said in a news conference that it was “classic Trump.”

“Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful?” he asked. “It’s an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative. I certainly reached out, I believe in a collaborative manner, by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable.”

The eruption of violence in Portland capped a week in which protests reignited across the nation in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. Trump has regularly painted the unrest as a product of local Democratic leadership, though several Democratic congressmen on Sunday argued the president was to blame for the current tensions.

Tags Black Lives Matter Donald Trump Kate Brown Oregon Patriot Prayer Portland ted wheeler

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