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Portland protests: Sheriffs keeping deputies out of Portland

CNN logo CNN 9/1/2020 By Madeline Holcombe, Jon Passantino and Topher Gauk-Roger, CNN
PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 26: Federal officers line up prior to a crowd dispersal of about 300 protesters in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention building on August 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Protests continued for the 91st night in Portland as activist called for solidarity with rallies in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images) © Nathan Howard/Getty Images PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 26: Federal officers line up prior to a crowd dispersal of about 300 protesters in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention building on August 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Protests continued for the 91st night in Portland as activist called for solidarity with rallies in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Though Portland protesters are growing smaller in number, a deadly clash over the weekend prompted Oregon's governor to call on outside law enforcement agencies to rein in demonstrations. Two Portland-area sheriff's departments said Monday that they will not deploy deputies.

Despite Gov. Kate Brown's announcement on Sunday that three neighboring law enforcement jurisdictions and Oregon State Police would help the Portland Police Bureau respond to the protests, the Clackamas County and Washington County Sheriff's Offices said Monday they will not send deputies due to what they said were policy disagreements and a lack of political support from Portland officials for law enforcement.

a couple of people that are talking to each other: A Black Lives Matter protester scuffles with attendees of a pro-Trump rally during an event held to show support for the President on Saturday in Clackamas, Oregon. © Nathan Howard/Getty Images A Black Lives Matter protester scuffles with attendees of a pro-Trump rally during an event held to show support for the President on Saturday in Clackamas, Oregon.

Protests in the city against police brutality and racial injustice have gone on for more than 90 days following the death of George Floyd in police custody and picked up again after last weekend's police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. In that time, nearly 800 demonstrators have been arrested. On Saturday night, a clash between protesters and Trump supporters resulted in one man being fatally shot.

a man wearing a hat and smiling at the camera: Aaron Danielson. © From GoFundMe Aaron Danielson.

"Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder," Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said. "The only way to make Portland safe again, is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence."

The Washington County Sheriff's Office issued a similar statement, saying it will support efforts in "indirect ways like analyzing risks associated with social media, air support, and assisting with specific criminal investigations."

Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said a lack of "political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly."

New York Times reporter Mike Baker has been on the ground in Portland, and told CNN's Chris Cuomo Monday that where there were once thousands of protesters in the city, this week has now seen about 150. And though police have relied less on tear gas, Baker said protesters are growing increasingly frustrated with the aggression they have felt from officers and are concerned that the weekend's death could lead to retribution from opposing groups.

Friend says man killed was good and decent

Police officials identified the man fatally shot Saturday night amid clashes between pro-Trump groups and left-wing protesters as Aaron J. Danielson of Portland.

Police said Danielson died at the scene of a wound to the chest. He was positively identified by the Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office, the Portland Police Bureau announced in a statement.

The far-right group Patriot Prayer, which has previously clashed with left-wing demonstrators, mourned Danielson's death.

"(H)e had a huge heart," group organizer Joey Gibson said on his Facebook page. "God bless the life he lived."

"We were like brothers," Luke Carrillo, Danielson's friend and business partner said. "Jay was quick-witted and funny as could be. Quick to crack a joke or offer a hug. Jay loved this community and the people within it. Jay loved being a Portlander and showing out-of-towners his chosen hometown."

Carrillo insisted that despite rumors, Danielson was not a radical, a racist or a facist.


Video: Reporter asks Trump to condemn Kenosha shooter. Watch his response (CNN)

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Authorities have not yet identified a suspect in Danielson's death.

The fatal shooting came after the "Trump 2020 Cruise Rally in Portland," in which supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in cars and drove in a caravan into Portland. Video footage from CNN affiliate KOIN showed pickups with American flags, "Thin Blue Line" flags, and Trump 2020 flags.

The shooting in Portland was the second instance of deadly gun violence at a political protest in the past week. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, an armed 17-year-old "Blue Lives Matter" supporter allegedly killed two people and wounded a third, according to a criminal complaint. The teenager's attorney said he acted in self-defense.

Immediate conflict between protesters

When trucks from the rally drove into Portland, Baker said, "it was clear that these folks were coming in ready for something."

He described supporters sitting in the beds of the truck with Trump and American flags and paintball guns at the ready, paint balls fired into the crowd and pepper spray clouded the air. Some vehicles even stopped, with passengers jumping out to engage in fist fights.

Protesters engaged the trucks as well, Baker said, with some people stepping in front to block them.

Brown, a Democrat, blamed Saturday night's violence on the caravan.

"The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight," Brown said. "Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets."

Justin Dunlap, who witnessed the Portland shooting and captured some of it on his Facebook live stream, said he "didn't hear much lead up to it."

"I heard like three seconds of yelling and saw a guy spray bear mace," Dunlap told CNN. "The victim sprayed mace and launched it right into the other guy."

Police Association calls for 'zero tolerance policy'

Portland's Police Association issued a statement Monday calling for the city council to support a "zero tolerance policy" on protest violence.

"Saturday night a man, a human being, a person -- Aaron Danielson -- was killed on the streets of Portland. His race, his political affiliation, or where he was from isn't relevant. What is important is that human life was taken on our city streets after three months of violence, assaults, rioting, and destruction of property," Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, said in a statement.

Turner called for the council to reverse policies that limit police tactics and resources in protest situations.

Police have consistently arrested those who they say have attacked property downtown or thrown items at police.

Many protesters were wearing heavy protective gear, including helmets, gas masks, and body armor, and used shields and reflective squares to redirect lights back at the officers, the release states.

The police union on Monday said officers had been stymied by city officials.

"It is time for the Portland City Council to support Chief Lovell and the Police Bureau by imposing a zero-tolerance policy regarding protest violence, gun violence, and all other violence in the city," the Portland Police Association said on Facebook.

"It is time for the City Council to allow the Police Bureau to use its resources to restore community safety before the city falls deeper into the sinkhole that has made Portland the subject of negative national news," it added.

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