Portland, Oregon, is ratcheting up law enforcement ahead of what’s expected to be another round of violent confrontations Saturday.
Right wing groups The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer plan a rally in the city that is expected to draw thousands of supporters and counterprotesters.
The Proud Boys described plans for a “free speech event” to support President Trump and the police, restore law and order and condemn anti-fascists, “domestic terrorism” and “violent gangs of rioting felons” in the street, the Associated Press reported. Black Lives Matter protesters have demonstrated in the city every day since George Floyd’s death in May, with the protests often devolving into confrontations with police.
The city has been the scene of violent clashes between the two groups and Antifa supporters multiple times, including one in August that saw Patriot Prayer supporter Arraon “Jay” Danielson fatally shot by self-described Antifa member Michael Forest Reinoehl, who claimed he acted in self defense. Reinoehl was killed by law enforcement officers a few days later as they tried to arrest him in Olympia, Washington.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Friday, stating “Those stoking the flames of violence, those coming to Portland looking for a fight will be held accountable.”
She planned to send state troopers to help the Portland police, and creating a unified command structure among city, regional and state law enforcement. The tactic essentially circumvents a city ban on the use of tear gas as a crowd-control measure. The state police said a “massive influx” of troopers would be in Portland by Saturday morning.
About 50 Portland police officers will be deputized as federal marshals, The Oregonian reported. The action will allow federal prosecutors to bring allegations of assault on a federal officer, if the deputized officers face attacks from any demonstrators, including the throwing of fireworks, rocks, bottles or other objects at them.
Federal offenses typically carry a stiffer sentence. “I want violent individuals thinking about the enhanced penalties they may face if they harm a Portland Police Bureau officer,” Oregon State Police Supt. Travis Hampton said.
New York Post
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