Officers who first confronted Michael Forest Reinoehl outside an apartment complex in Washington last week yelled no warnings or commands before firing and killing the Oregon man wanted on a murder warrant in the death of a right-wing demonstrator in Portland, according to a witness now represented by a lawyer.
Nathaniel Dingess, 39, lives in the apartment complex near Lacey, Washington, where Reinoehl apparently was hiding.
Dingess said he saw Reinoehl walk toward his car holding a cellphone in his hand when two unmarked law enforcement vehicles converged outside the complex in the 7600 block of Third Way Southeast last Thursday night. Officers began firing at Reinoehl, according to a statement issued by Dingess’ lawyer, Luke Laughlin, on his behalf.
Reinoehl ducked for cover near his car, but it was blocked by police cars and he never got into it, according to Dingess.
“Officers shot multiple rapid-fire rounds at Reinoehl before issuing a brief ‘stop’ command, quickly followed by more rapid-fire shooting by additional officers,” according to the statement.
Dingess said he never saw a handgun on Reinoehl or saw him reach for anything.
Dingess, an ordained minister of 19 years, fears for his and his family’s safety for speaking out in what has become a flashpoint in the political swirl around Portland’s ongoing protests, according to his lawyers.
Laughlin and other lawyers are calling for an independent authority to investigate the shooting of Reinoehl, arguing that the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is not an uninvolved party.
The night of the shooting, the U.S. Marshals Service issued a statement that said, “Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers. Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Normally, I would be inclined to wait for an investigation, and perhaps some more information before coming to that conclusion, but given that both Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr gave their official imprimatur to this as an extrajudicial killing, I have to believe that orders were given that Reinoehl was not to be taken alive:
President Donald Trump seemed to endorse the extrajudicial killing of suspects while discussing the fatal shooting of the antifascist activist Michael Reinoehl by U.S. Marshals in early September.
“The U.S. Marshals went in to get [Reinoehl], and, in a short period of time, they ended up in a gunfight. This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him. And I will tell you something, that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments seemed to line-up with Attorney General William Barr’s official statement following the killing of Reinoehl, calling the officers’ actions “a significant accomplishment in the ongoing effort to restore law and order.”
Given the eyewitness account, I’m not inclined to believe that Trump and Barr both gave tacit, if not explicit, approval to a shoot on sight order.
Certainly, given the pro-fascist proclivities of both the US and local state security apparatus, I don’t think that you would need a smoking gun type order to do this, just vague language about how no risks being taken.
If you are not worried, note that, if the allegations are true, this is only one step away drone strikes against US citizens on US soil.