(Bloomberg) -- The man shot to death in a protest in Portland on Saturday night was a supporter of a right-wing group that has frequently clashed with other demonstrators there.
“I can’t say much right now. All I can do is verify that he was a good friend and a supporter of Patriot Prayer,” Joey Gibson, the head of the group, told Associated Press. He said he would say more later Sunday.
Patriot Prayer, which supports President Donald Trump, was part of a caravan of counterprotesters to a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Saturday in Portland, the Oregon city riled by a summer of protest against police and National Guard.
A widely-shared video appears to show the incident from a distance, in which two shots were fired in a small crowd. An AP freelance photographer said he saw medics working on the body of the victim, who appeared to be a white man. The victim was wearing a hat with the logo of Patriot Prayer, AP said.
Earlier in the evening, some Trump supporters in trucks who were blocked in by protesters began exiting their vehicles, the Washington Post said. Fights broke out, leaving multiple people injured, the paper said. AP estimated that the caravan left the area around 8:30 p.m., and the police said gunshots were heard at 8:46 p.m.
“It is still early in this investigation, and I ask everyone to give the detectives time to do their important work before drawing conclusions about what took place,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. “This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.”
On Sunday, even before the affiliation of the victim had been confirmed, both sides of the political divide were quick to blame each other for encouraging the violence that led to the killing.
Trump unleashed a tweetstorm Sunday accusing Democratic leaders of cities and states of not controlling protests and saying the National Guard has and would do so. Chad Wolf, the president’s nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, said “all options are on the table” in terms of again sending troops even if local officials do not request them.
“The way you stop the rioting is surge manpower and resources, citizen soldiers, National Guard, and you overwhelm the number of protesters,” Republican Senator and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.
The campaign for Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, said he would travel the country this week to address the recent violence.
The clash in Portland came amid a tumultuous week as demonstrators gathered again Saturday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the police shooting of a Black man.
“There were seven bullets put in my son’s back. ... Hell yeah, I’m mad,” said Jacob Blake Sr., the father of the shot man. “What gave them the right to attempted murder on my child? What gave them the right to think that my son was an animal? What gave them the right to take something that was not theirs? I’m tired of this.”
The Kenosha protests started after a police officer in the southeastern Wisconsin city shot Jacob Blake multiple times in the back last Sunday. Two nights later, two protesters were fatally shot and a third was injured after clashes between protesters and counterprotesters. A hearing to extradite the 17-year-old suspect in that case, Kyle Rittenhouse, from his home state of Illinois was delayed for 30 days.
Saturday’s demonstration in Kenosha was attended by public officials, including Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, and by other members of Blake’s family.
Trump, who said Friday the protesters are “just looking for trouble,” will visit Kenosha on Tuesday, the White House announced Saturday night. On Sunday, Lara Trump, a campaign adviser, said the president may meet with Blake’s family.
Karen Bass, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on CNN that Trump’s visit to Kenosha will “agitate things and make them worse” as local law authorities have blamed the violence on people who have missed curfew.
Speaking in Texas on Saturday, Trump was asked by a reporter about Rittenhouse and the contention that he acted in self defense.
“That’s under investigation right now and they’ll be reporting back to me over the next 24 hours, 48 hours maybe, max, and we’ll have a comment about it,” he said. “Right now we’re looking at it very, very carefully.”
With Trump running an explicitly law-and-order re-election campaign, Biden told the National Guard Association Saturday he would never put them “in the middle of politics or personal vendettas.”
“I’ll never use the military as a prop or as a private militia to violate rights of fellow citizens,” the former vice president said in a virtual talk from his home in Delaware, according the Washington Post. “That’s not law and order. You don’t deserve that.”
In another high-profile case, Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he’s received the FBI ballistics report in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March. Cameron, who spoke in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention, said his office doesn’t plan to make an announcement this week as additional analysis is needed.
Taylor was killed after multiple shots by officers who went to her home for a drug investigation. Officers used a no-knock warrant to break down the door and were met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend. No drugs were found and Taylor was unarmed.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in California are setting up a task force to study and propose recommendations for reparations to African Americans, particularly the descendants of slaves, AP reported. The state Senate supported creating the nine-member commission on a bipartisan 33-3 vote Saturday.
In Minneapolis, where the killing of George Floyd sparked the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year, former police officer Derek Chauvin asked a judge to dismiss murder charges against him for Floyd’s death, CNN reported. His lawyer said there’s not probable cause to support charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, CNN said, while prosecutors sought stricter sentences than recommended by state guidelines.
More protests are expected in the week ahead. University of Alabama football players and coaches are planning a march at 4 p.m. Monday to protest social injustice, running back Najee Harris said in a tweet. The march will meet at the schoolhouse door at Foster Auditorium, he said, the site where then-Governor George Wallace placed himself to prevent the enrollment of two Black students almost six decades ago.
Trump in Tweetstorm Over Portland Death, Pushes ‘Law and Order’Wolf Says Portland Officials Foster Violence Among ProtestersBiden to Address Violent Protests in Campaign Swing, Aide SaysFacebook CEO Says ‘Kenosha Guard’ Page Was Left Up By MistakeESPN Commentary Shows Get a Boost During Game CancellationsNBA to Resume Saturday; League Announces Social Justice Actions
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