Instead Of Arresting The Portland Man Suspected Of Shooting A Far-Right Protestor, Police Killed Him
Just hours after Michael Reinoehl spoke to VICE News about fatally shooting a member of the far-right group Patriot Prayer during a rally in downtown Portland, police shot and killed him near Olympia, Washington. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, investigators who were part of a federal task force moved to arrest Reinoehl Thursday night after a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge issued an arrest warrant.
“The fugitive task force located Reinoehl in Olympia and attempted to peacefully arrest him,” the U.S. Marshals Service claimed. Law enforcement officers at the scene allege Reinoehl, 48, was armed with a firearm at the time of his arrest and was “threatening the lives of law enforcement officers” but no other witnesses have corroborated this account of events. Officers ultimately shot and killed him during the attempted arrest.
Reinoehl had been a person of interest in the police investigation into the killing of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, the Patriot Prayer member who was participating in a pro-Trump car caravan on August 29 in Portland. In an earlier conversation with VICE, Reinoehl said he was acting in self defense when he shot Danielson.
“I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of colour. But I wasn't going to do that,” Reinoehl said. He also detailed how Danielson threatened him and a friend with a knife, adding, “Had I stepped forward, he would have maced or stabbed me.” After the incident, Reinoehl told VICE News that he went into hiding and relocated his children after shots were fired outside his home, and said after speaking with attorneys he felt he had “a viable case for self defense and protection because there’s a definite threat to my life.”
Reinoehl regularly attended racial justice protests in Portland over the last three months since national uprisings began after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd in May. He was previously arrested during an action in July for carrying a loaded gun and resisting arrest.
Not long before reports of Reinoehl’s killing circulated, President Donald Trump tweeted that the Portland Police Department should be arresting him, writing “Do your job, and do it fast.” Anti-racist demonstrators say it’s obvious police have taken a side in the escalating fight for racial justice, and Reinoehl's killing is only the latest in this battle. Last month, police apprehended 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse after he shot and killed two anti-racist protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin — as the president came to his defense — but did not act with the same restraint when arresting Reinoehl on Thursday night.
There have been dozens of attacks on anti-racist protestors since May. In just the last few weeks in Portland, the far right and Trump supporters were suspected of carrying out two attempted pipe-bomb attacks, one drive-by shooting, and pulling guns on protestors, according to the site It’s Going Down. And, on Thursday night, someone drove their car into a Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square in New York City in the latest attempt to attack protestors..