Murdered Trump Supporter's Family Sues Portland, Mayor, District Attorney
The lawsuit says Portland took a 'hands-off approach' to political demonstrations
Murdered Trump supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson's family has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Portland, the mayor, and the county district attorney, reports say.
The lawsuit argues that Danielson’s death was “preventable” and places blame on the city and officials for its policing strategy.
The lawsuit says Portland took a “hands-off approach” to political demonstrations, which in turn fostered a “culture of vigilante policing,” according to OregonLive.com.
Michael Forest Reinoehl shot and killed Danielson during a pro-Trump rally that saw Antifa activists engage in a counter-protest.
Surveillance footage showed Reinhoel “emerging from an alcove of a parking garage before firing two gunshots, one that hit the man’s bear spray can and the other that proved fatal,” Oregonian reported.
Attorney for Danielson’s estate, Christopher L. Cauble, said:
“We are seeking justice for the preventable death of a young man, gunned down in a city with a dangerous and deadly hands-off approach to public safety."
“Time and time again, City leadership and law enforcement have failed to find an effective response to clashing groups of protesters.”
The plaintiff seeks a total of $13 million in damages, which include 1.5 million in economic damage, $1.5 million in non-economic damages, and up to $10 million in punitive damages.
The lawsuit defendants are the City of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.
In the lawsuit, Schmidt is accused of adopting a new policy not to pursue “public order crimes such as criminal mischief, interfering with an officer or a stand-alone riot charge, and instead would focus on deliberate property damage and threats of force or actual force against others.”
Mayor Wheeler admitted the “hands-off strategies” for dealing with rioters were “not the right strategy" shortly before the lawsuit was filed.
“It is clear, based on the public outcry, on the media outcry, on the national front, that that strategy was not the right strategy,” the mayor said during a city council meeting last week, according to the Associated Press.
“I think we can all acknowledge that. I take full responsibility for it.”
The lawsuit accuses the police department’s Rapid Response Team of being less than two blocks away from the shooting.
But the teams were given orders not to get involved between dueling demonstrators.
“Given the enormity of the press coverage over the past several years regarding clashes between left- and right-leaning protest groups in the downtown core of Portland, Defendants knew or should have known that violent clashes would occur,” Cauble wrote in the court pleadings.
The lawsuit also alleges that the city and mayor “fostered an environment in which demonstrators on both sides could reasonably anticipate a skeletal and passive police presence on the weekend of August 29, 2020.”
Based on video evidence and at least one alleged eyewitness account, Danielson was walking down the street with his Patriot Prayer hat on at the time he was ambushed and fatally shot, according to The Daily Wire.