In the wake of a shooting Saturday night that left a conservative activist dead, Governor Kate Brown has released the details of a “unified law enforcement plan” her office says is intended to protect free speech and bring violence and arson to an end in Portland.
With months of nightly protests stretching the Portland Police Bureau’s resources thin, Brown says additional local, state and federal personnel will give the PPB the capacity to arrest and charge those individuals who have engaged in violent or destructive acts and endangered public safety.
“We all must come together — elected officials, community leaders, all of us — to stop the cycle of violence,” said Governor Brown. “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.”
The man killed in Portland Saturday night has been identified as Aaron Danielson, a supporter of the conservative group Patriot Prayer.
The shooting followed the appearance of a large caravan of Trump supporters that paraded through Portland — though it’s unclear if the incident was in any way related. The group of an estimated 1,000 cars and trucks — many of them flying American flags and Trump-Pence banners — originally gathered for a rally at Clackamas Town Center before heading north.
According to The Oregonian, Danielson was shot in the chest and died in the street.
In a statement Sunday, Governor Brown blamed the incident on right-wing groups — and even the president himself.
“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight,” she said. “Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.
“For the last several years, and escalating in recent months, President Trump has encouraged division and stoked violence,” she said in a separate release on MyOregon.gov. “It happened in Charlottesville. It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon.
““But despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death. Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President.”
The governor’s plan for addressing the violence involves all levels of law enforcement who have agreed to the following:
• The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute serious criminal offenses, including arson and physical violence.
• The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will work with system partners to hold individuals booked for violent behavior, and to ensure that there is adequate jail space to hold such individuals.
• As done previously, Oregon State Police will detail personnel and resources to Portland to free up the Portland Police Bureau’s investigative capabilities to arrest and charge those engaging in violent acts. OSP troopers will continue their standard practice of wearing body cameras to allow for the documentation of their activities.
• The Governor is asking Clackamas and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices and the City of Gresham Police Department to support the Portland Police Bureau with personnel and resources to keep the peace and protect free speech.
• Oregon State Police have offered over two dozen body cameras and associated evidence management to the Portland Police Bureau, and the Bureau will evaluate their use. The City of Portland has agreed to indemnify Clackamas and Washington Counties and the City of Gresham for law enforcement assistance.
• The United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will commit additional resources for investigation of criminal activity.
“Change will not come overnight, and, as we have seen in these last months, it does not come easily either,” Governor Brown said. “But we are building a more just future. I will continue to work with local leaders, law enforcement, and community leaders to bring all voices to the table to help end the nightly confrontations—but that will only come if we commit ourselves to do the hard work to bring about real change and racial justice.”
The governor said she will also convene a community forum, including Mayor Wheeler, and invite Black protest organizers and community leaders to discuss racial justice and police reform in the City of Portland.
The group will create a venue for all community voices to come together, listen to each other, and co-create a just and peaceful future.
Photo by Dave Killen, of The Oregonian. Used with permission.
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