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.