As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to increase law enforcement in Portland faced criticism, President Donald Trump on Monday defended his supporters’ actions during a caravan through the city that preceded the fatal shooting of a supporter of a right-wing group.
Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, was fatally shot on Saturday after clashes between Trump supporters and counter protesters erupted in Portland, which has seen nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd in May.
Police have released few details about the shooting and have not named a suspect, but Danielson was seen wearing a hat with an insignia for a right-wing group that has been active in Portland.
Video and photos from the caravan Saturday showed both sides shouting and lobbing projectiles at each other, but some images showed those inside the pro-Trump vehicles firing paintballs and tear gas at the counter protesters. Other videos appeared to show cars nearly running over counter protesters.
“Paint is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets,” Trump said during his White House briefing Monday, adding that someone connected with violent protests “shot a young gentleman and killed him. Not with paint but with a bullet.”
Meanwhile, nearby sheriffs offices that Brown called on to come to Portland to aid the city’s police officers in patrolling protests dismissed her plan on Monday.
More on Patriot Prayer:What is the right-wing group linked to Portland confrontations and who is Joey Gibson?
Here’s what we know Tuesday:
Sheriffs: Brown’s plan won’t end ‘cycle of violence’ in Portland
Brown released details of her peace plan for Portland on Sunday, which includes deploying Oregon State Police, asking for help from local law enforcement and calling on the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute arson and other violent offenses.
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, however, said adding more law enforcement to the mix won’t work unless Portland’s newly elected district attorney is harder on protesters. Roberts said too often demonstrators arrested on low-level crimes are released.
“The same offenders are arrested night after night, only to be released by the court and not charged with a crime by the DA’s Office. The next night they are back at it, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the community all over again,” Roberts said. “The criminal justice system will need do its part and hold offenders accountable.”
Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett was also critical of Brown’s plan.
Brown’s plan also includes creating a forum among the city’s Black leaders and Mayor Ted Wheeler. Trump has often lashed out at Wheeler for the unrest in Portland, calling him a “joke of a mayor” and a “fool” in the wake of the shooting.
Black leaders in the city also expressed concern over the new plan, which would increase law enforcement on the streets.
“If you’re just there, the odds of getting arrested at this point are almost so high as to the point of being guaranteed,” Shanice Clarke, a founders of the Black Millennial Movement, told the Associated Press.
Wheeler needs to do more than “just showing up to a press conference and saying it’s Trump’s fault” for Black people to feel they are being listened to in Portland, she said.
Visual timeline from Kenosha:Violence after police shooting of Jacob Blake
Protesters light fires near Wheeler’s home
The unrest in Portland continued for another night Monday as protesters went to the building where Wheeler lives and demanded his resignation.
The Oregonian reported that the demonstration became destructive as people lit a fire with newspapers and tossed a picnic table in it. Windows on the ground floor were broken, and some took items from a dental office.
Demonstrators have rallied in Portland every night since Floyd, a Black man, was killed as a white Minneapolis police officer dug his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. His death sparked massive protests around the country.
The unrest in Portland has ebbed and flowed but tensions were reignited when Trump ordered federal agents to the city to protect a federal courthouse and quell violence.
Those agents withdrew July 31, but smaller nightly protests have continued in pockets of the city. More than 600 people have been arrested since late May.
‘People’s worst fears’ came alive:In Kenosha, guns, militia inject chilling dimension into protests
What happened during the caravan, shooting?
Danielson was shot about 15 minutes after the caravan left downtown Portland on Saturday.
The group of vehicles rolled into the city after a rally in nearby Clackamas. Fights and skirmishes broke out between Trump supporters and counter protesters. Video showed both sides hurling objects into the crowds. Counter protesters lit Trump flags on fire and lobbed water bottles. Trump supporters fired paintball guns and pepper spray as they drove into some counter protesters.
Hours before he was fatally shot, Danielson and a friend were seen heading downtown to protect the caravan. They wore hats with the insignia of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, and appeared armed with knives and paintball guns.
In a video of the shooting, three shots are heard before Danielson falls to the ground.
What is Patriot Prayer?
Based in Washington state, Patriot Prayer is a right-wing group “about fighting corruption, big government, and tyranny using God for strength and the power of love,” founder Joey Gibson wrote on the group’s Facebook page.
However, the group has often clashed with protesters in Portland in recent years, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which advocates for civil rights, said Patriot Prayer members often engage in violence against their political opponents.
“Our concern now is that (far-right groups in Portland) will use this tragic death as an excuse to act with even more impunity against anti-fascists, leftists, Black Lives Matter activists and journalists,” said Cassie Miller, senior research analyst for the SPLC.
Gibson called Danielson a friend and wrote on Facebook, “We love Jay and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived.”
Chandler Pappas, who was seen next to Danielson Saturday, told a rally on Sunday that the man was “Christian” and “conservative.”
“He was a good man and he was just killed senselessly for no reason other than he believed something different than they do,” Pappas said.
Contributing: John Bacon, Jordan Culver, Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press