Wednesday 10/28/20

Man shot dead on sidelines of rallies for and against Trump in US

Around 2,500 Trump supporters had staged a convoy with several hundred cars through the north-western city, which led to skirmishes with left-wing groups and several arrests.

24 August 2020, US, Kenosha: Graffiti can be seen on the front of the Kenosha County Court House after a demonstration following the shooting of Jacob Blake, an African-American man, by a white police officer the day before. Photo: Mark Hertzberg/dpa.
Graffiti on the front of the Kenosha County Court House after a demonstration following the shooting of Jacob Blake. Photo: Mark Hertzberg/dpa.

A fatal shooting during rallies by supporters and opponents of US President Donald Trump in Portland, Oregon, drew renewed calls for law and order by Trump, while Democrats blamed him for the violence.

Police officers heard gunfire at around 8:45 pm on Saturday in downtown Portland, and found a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest, who did not survive, according to a police statement.

Authorities did not release details about his identity or comment on who the shooter was.

The shooting happened around 15 minutes after a caravan of cars left the area, police said.

Around 2,500 Trump supporters had staged a convoy with several hundred cars through the north-western city, which led to skirmishes with left-wing groups and several arrests.

A video by a New York Times reporter showed paintballs and pepper spray being fired at protesters lining the streets from passing pick-up trucks.

The dead man was wearing a hat of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, according to the New York Times. The paper reported that the group's chief confirmed that the man was a friend and supporter.

Police said they are investigating a homicide case.

"This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible," police chief Chuck Lovell said on Sunday.

Trump posted a series of tweets reiterating his law-and-order campaign message and calling for the National Guard to be brought into Portland.

He called his supporters who drove into the city "GREAT PATRIOTS!" and re-tweeted several posts that cast blame for the violence on local officials.

Lawlessness and chaos

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf echoed that message, telling CBS News that local leaders were to blame for fostering "an environment of this lawlessness and chaos."

Wolf also told ABC News that "all options continue to be on the table" to deploy more federal agents to Portland, despite strong opposition from local authorities.

The city's Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler blamed Trump for the unrest.

"Do you seriously wonder, Mr President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?" he told a press conference. "It's you who has created the hate and the division."

Portland has been swept by nightly protests since the death of George Floyd, a black man, in a brutal police operation by white officers in Minneapolis in May.

People have been taking to the streets for weeks in other cities as well to protest against police brutality and systemic racism.

Two people were killed on Wednesday night in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests sparked by the August 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man.

Trump plans to travel to Kenosha himself on Tuesday.

He "will meet with law enforcement and survey damage from recent riots," a White House spokesperson said in a statement.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney, said Blake's family had not been contacted about a meeting with the president.

Trump's rival, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and his running mate Kamala Harris, had spoken to the Blake family "for about an hour," Crump told CBS News.

The attorney detailed the "catastrophic injuries" sustained by Blake after being shot seven times, leaving him "a shell of himself."

Biden on Sunday urged Trump to condemn violence from all sides

"We must not become a country at war with ourselves," Biden said in a statement.

"Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same," Biden said.

Wisconsin's lieutenant governor said Trump should not visit Kenosha.

"They centred an entire convention around creating more animosity and creating more division around what's going on in Kenosha," Mandela Barnes told CNN, referring to the Republican convention.

"So I don’t know how, given any of the previous statements that the president made, that he intends to come here to be helpful, and we absolutely don’t need that right now."

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