The estate of the man gunned down in downtown Portland after a pro-Trump auto rally last year is suing the city of Portland, the mayor and the county attorney, claiming their alleged negligence contributed to his violent death .
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Portland on Friday, argues that a “hands-off approach” to political protests and counter-protests in Portland has fostered a “police culture of self-defense” between opposing factions that has bridged the gap. empty and leads to the murder of Aaron. “Jay” Danielson on August 29, 2020,
He is seeking $ 13 million in damages – $ 1.5 million in economic damages, $ 1.5 million in non-economic damages and up to $ 10 million in punitive damages.
“We demand justice for the preventable death of a young man, shot dead in a city with a dangerous and deadly approach to public safety. Time and time again, city leaders and law enforcement have failed to find an effective response to conflicting protest groups, ”Christopher L. Cauble, The estate attorney said in a statement.
City attorney Robert Taylor declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The Danielson Estate also accused Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt of playing a role in broadcasting last summer that he had adopted a new policy and that he would generally not pursue what he considered to be. public order crimes such as criminal mischief, interfering with an officer or a booth. -Only the charge of riot, and would instead focus on deliberate property damage and threats of force or actual force against others.
Schmidt’s office did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
Michael Reinoehl, a self-proclaimed anti-fascist who said he provided security for racial justice protests in Portland, appears to have targeted Danielson, according to surveillance camera video of the shooting released by police. Reinoehl, 48, walked out of an alcove in a downtown parking lot before firing two shots as Danielson walked through the city center after the rally, according to a police affidavit.
The lawsuit says Danielson deployed bear spray to Reinoehl in defense simultaneously with the shots.
Danielson, 39, was pronounced dead at 8:55 p.m. on Southwest Third Avenue about 10 minutes after the shooting was reported. He died from a single bullet in the upper right part of the chest, according to an autopsy.
Danielson was with his friend Chandler Pappas and both wore Patriot Prayer hats, signifying their support for the Vancouver-based right-wing group.
Reinoehl was shot dead days later outside a Washington apartment complex when agents from a multi-agency federal task force moved in to try to arrest him on a Multnomah County warrant. accusing him of second degree murder and illegal use of a firearm in Danielson’s death. filming.
The lawsuit alleges that officers from the Rapid Response Team, the police station’s specialized crowd control unit, were within two blocks of the shooting, but were following orders not to s ‘involve that day between dueling protesters.
“Given the enormity of the media coverage in recent years regarding clashes between left and right-wing protest groups in downtown Portland, the defendants knew or should have known that violent clashes would occur. Cauble wrote in the suit.
Police had warned residents via Twitter that a political rally was heading towards downtown Portland and urged people to avoid the area if possible. A trailer of trucks and cars emblazoned with pro-Trump flags drove through downtown, with hand-to-hand fighting and chemical sprays flying between people passing in vehicles and others protesting on the streets.
By the time of the shooting, most of the car rally had left the city center and the crowd had largely cleared.
Portland Police said in a statement that day that officers “tried to respond to the unrest as quickly as possible to restore order, prevent violence and keep traffic going.” But police said it was difficult to do so in part because skirmishes were also taking place on the east side of the river. Officers eventually arrested 10 people throughout the night related to the clashes, most of them charged with disorderly conduct.
The costume noted brawls a week earlier in the city center between opposing protesters with bats, smoke bombs, shields and bear bombs outside the Justice Center without police intervention.
The city and the mayor “fostered an environment in which protesters on both sides could reasonably anticipate a skeletal and passive police presence on the weekend of August 29, 2020,” the lawsuit said.
The city and police did not “divert the caravan of right-wing protesters” from the city center, and then failed to separate the conflicting protesters that resulted, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit follows a turnaround this week by Mayor Ted Wheeler, who first praised police, then said their non-intervention approach last month in a violent political skirmish in northeast Portland “Was not the right strategy”.
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