Justice is the first casualty when police shoot first and ask questions later. Questions hang over the September shooting of Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-declared “anti-fa” activist, by members of a US Marshall Violent Offender Task Force.
Reverend Alex DiBlasi, PGP Candidate for the 3rd Congressional seat in Oregon, strongly condemns the shooting of Reinoehl and others. “From the excessive number of bullets, to conflicting reports that these armed agents did not identify themselves as law enforcement, to Trump's "got him!" response, the death of Michael Reinohl seems less like the state pursuing justice and more like an extrajudicial killing. This puts our law enforcement in the same murderous league as the death squads of Bolsonaro's Brazil or Duterte's Philippines,” said DiBlasi.
News reports of multiple witness accounts indicate that federal marshals opened fire on Reinoehl without identifying themselves or attempting to arrest him. Their bullets also endangered children playing in the line of fire. A spokesman for US Marshall’s claims a command was given. 30 shots were fired at Reinoehl in his vehicle, several hitting him in the head and torso; he died outside his vehicle, his gun still in his pocket. Two days prior, Reinoehl allegedly shot Aaron J. Danielson, a member of far-right Patriot Prayer, a group based in Vancouver Washington.
However, police in pursuit of a suspect are required to make an arrest rather than execute the suspect. When police act as judge, jury and executioner, justice is denied.The Pacific Green Party of Oregon denounces police impunity from criminal liability in killing civilians. The police shooting of Reinoehl evokes the same police tactic that determined Breonna Taylor’s fate; a police ‘no-knock,’ that doesn’t provide identification nor make a call to follow an order.
“The lack of accountability from the police officers responsible for the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Quanice Hayes, Keaton Otis, and Kendra James is a huge injustice that needs to be corrected,” said DiBlasi. “Reinoehl's assassination sends a chilling message that anti-racist activists are targets for state violence. We must defund and critically reform our law enforcement agencies if we are to ever eradicate white
supremacy within our government,” said DiBlasi, pointing to the problem of right wing infiltration of police agencies and the armed forces.
A trial by jury for Mr. Reinoehl would provide society a way to understand why this happened and what can be done to prevent future violence. Without a trial, Reinoehl’s reasons for doing what he did is lost, and his story will never be known. Questions naturally arise, was Reinoehl shot first without asking questions because the authorities didn’t want to hear his story? Was his shooting an assassination? Without accountability police become arrogant and lose respect for citizens - their employers.
For example, Willamette Week reported about Al Warren, a resident and homeowner of a north Portland neighborhood who was struck without provocation by a Portland Police officer on September 5th; the police officer’s identity was concealed.
Warren left his house and approached a group of police assigned to protestors denouncing police brutality in response to the George Floyd killing on May 25. Warren informed the officers that tear gas had entered his home and was making his family ill. In reaction, one of the officers in the group hit him with a baton on the back side of his head and caused a concussion. Police officers had to restrain their fellow officer from hitting Warren again.
The blow came without provocation, and it shows how some cops lack basic self-restraint, or they feel emboldened by President Trump’s call for strong police response. It is clear, police feel confident that brutal measures will go unpunished. Al Warren is suing the Portland Police for violation of his civil rights.
For more information Contact:
Alex DiBlasi, Pacific Green Party Candidate for Congressional 3rd District, 503-523-7765.
Or Charles Newlin, media contact: [email protected].