Portland Mayor and Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler, Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt, and other city officials “created a vacuum where peacekeeping efforts and criminal accountability should be; in its place, an environment of vigilantism emerged that ultimately led to the death of Aaron Danielson,” states the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Portland, and obtained by The Epoch Times.
Danielson was killed in Portland on Aug. 29, 2020. Michael Reinoehl, a self-described member of the far-left, anarcho-communist Antifa network, later admitted to shooting Danielson, who was wearing a hat with the logo for Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group, and has been described as a Patriot Prayer supporter.
The two groups clashed in Portland before the shooting, with little intervention by police officers.
The Portland Police Bureau, overseen by Wheeler, chose to let rioters attack a federal courthouse in the city during the spring of 2020, triggering a deployment of federal officers to protect the building and leading to nightly clashes that drew nationwide attention.
Rioters, including members of Antifa, later turned their attention on other facilities, such as police precincts and the headquarters of the Portland police union. While some arrests were made, many of those arrested saw their charges dropped or their cases not pursued by prosecutors, under an unusual policy implemented by Schmidt’s office shortly after he became the district attorney.
The new suit says the approach used by police and prosecutors also included delegating the authority to engage in crowd control and crime prevention to individuals who provided security services for Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and right-wing groups like Patriot Prayer.
The defendants knew that a large-scale demonstration was planned the night Danielson was killed and was aware that members of Antifa and others planned to confront demonstrators but chose to deploy a minimal police presence while also ordering officers to “stay out of sight” and allow the demonstrators and protesters to “express their emotions,” the suit also alleges, quoting Wheeler.