Photo credit: Twitter @JenDowlingKoin6
By Michael Nolan
On Saturday night in Portland, Oregon, a reactionary by the name of Benjamin Smith opened fire on a march against police violence, killing one and injuring another four protesters for Black lives, before being shot and thereby neutralized by one of the protesters in attendance. Portland police and the monopoly media initially tried to cover up the reactionary political nature of the shooting, reporting the incident as if it were not politically motivated.
Protesters gathered at Normandale Park the night of February 19 for a march in memory of Amir Locke, a Black man murdered by Minneapolis police during a no-knock raid earlier this month. In an affidavit filed on Tuesday, prosecutors say Smith approached the protest in order to instigate a confrontation with the demonstrators. One protester told him to go back home and leave them alone, but he demanded that they “make him” leave and aggressively approached one protester who pushed him back. Smith kept yelling and calling the protesters “terrorists,” eventually pulling out a .45 caliber handgun and firing at the crowd, hitting five people and killing one. One protester fired back, hitting Smith in the hip, incapacitating him and stopping him from shooting anyone else.
Sixty-year-old activist Brandy “June” Knightly was the protester murdered by Smith after being shot in the head. Two other activists remain in the hospital, one paralyzed and in serious condition, while the remaining wounded protesters are in stable condition. David Bumpus, the heroic protester who stopped the gunman, was arrested and charged within 12 hours, although the charges have since been dropped.
For several days, the monopoly media incorrectly reported that the shooting was not politically motivated. In a press release on Monday, the Portland Police Bureau said only that “this incident started with a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters,” implying that the motivation for the mass shooting was simple dispute rather than a reactionary attack on protesters for Black lives. The police’s claim that Smith was an homeowner has been revealed as a lie, and the police further obscured Smith’s motivation by stating, “This is a very complicated incident, and investigators are trying to put this puzzle together without having all the pieces.”
According to Smith’s roommate, Kristine Christenson, Smith “talked about wanting to go shoot commies and antifa [antifascists] all the friggin’ time. … He was just a sad angry dude. … He talked about wanting to do this for a while. He was angry at the mask mandates, he was angry at the ‘damned liberals.’”
Smith had a history of making anti-Semitic comments and praising reactionary violence by groups like the Proud Boys on social media. This was known to police who interviewed Christenson the night of the shooting, but they chose to leave that information out of their press release and instead opted to emphasize the supposed ‘complexity’ of the case. Smith remains in the hospital in serious condition, charged with murder as well as multiple counts of attempted murder and other assault charges.
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