That Does Not Sound Legit

This is an oft-repeated story in America: a suspect is sitting in a car, and several police appear with guns drawn, then pepper the car and suspect with bullets. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

The suspect who appears to have shot a neo-fascist protester in Portland was gunned down by 4 cops, who fired a total of 30 rounds. [guard] You know all that “hands up and come out slowly” stuff you see in movies and TV shows? Nope, he appears to have been napping in his car and they just blew him to bits. The reports are so full of slant in various directions that it’s hard to tell what happened, except that a lot of things happened wrong.

Four officers fired more than 30 rounds at an anti-fascist activist who had been on the run after being named in the killing of a man during a pro-Trump rally in Portland, Oregon, an official said on Tuesday.

Law enforcement officials killed Michael Reinoehl on 3 September after they cornered him in his car outside an apartment complex in Lacey, Washington. Reinoehl was the suspect in the fatal shooting of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was killed at a pro-Trump car caravan in Portland on 29 August.

The Guardian’s language is interesting. The suspect was “cornered” in his car. But in the same article they use totally different language which indicates that he was surprised and the shooting started immediately:

The officers who fired at Reinoehl were part of a multi-agency federal taskforce and had pulled up in two unmarked cars, Brady said. The officers were not wearing body cameras, and there is no surveillance footage of the killing.

Oh, so two unmarked cars pull up, people get out and blaze away. Somehow in the midst of all of that, everyone forgot to wear their body cams and I’m betting the unmarked cars had no cameras, either. That’s some sophisticated planning and coordination, for sure! “Hey, everyone make sure you have forgotten your cameras!”

A witness, Garrett Louis, told the New York Times he watched the shooting begin while trying to get his eight-year-old son out of the way. He said the officers began shooting so suddenly that he initially assumed they were criminals gunning down an enemy, not police. “There was no, ‘Get out of the car!’ There was no, ‘Stop!’ … They just got out of the car and started shooting.

Sounds like they just didn’t have time to get a predator drone with one of those “knife missiles” on station.

Lt Ray Brady said on Tuesday that Reinoehl had a loaded .380-caliber handgun in his front pocket, and that police found him with his hand on or near the gun after he was killed.

That one blows my mind. If you have something in your pocket, your hands are going to be “on or near” your pocket because that’s how “hands” and “arms” and “pockets” work. Especially, if you’re dead. Your arms just kind of flop there, right near your pocket. Holy shit, batman.

Earlier that day, Portland police had obtained a warrant to arrest him on second-degree murder and unlawful use of a firearm for the killing of Danielson.

Warrants are best served with cold lead, apparently.

Meanwhile, the police are having some trouble spinning the story about the security guard who shot the MAGA-protester who hit him in the face and started to pepper-spray him. A professional photographer was taking footage of the scene and happened to capture the entire incident at 30 frames per second and it’s clear as anything that the MAGA-dude hit the security guard and was already spraying him, when the security guard killed him. It’s clearly self-defense and the private security guard had all of the proper paperwork for his weapon and carry, etc. How are they going to flip that situation around to make it his fault, I wonder? That occurrence has been inevitable since people have taken to spraying pepper spray and hitting eachother with sticks: sooner or later someone is going to do some lethal self-defense. In a non-fucked world, people would back away from that sort of conflict following a shooting like that, but fuckedworld is what we’ve got.

I remember, when I was a kid, they were still hunting down and crushing out the Red Army Faction, Baader-Meinhof, and Red Brigades in Europe. Sometimes there’d be articles in the news about some red brigade member being cornered in their car (sound familiar?) and machine-gunned to bits by police. And, of course, I remember the Symbionese Liberation Army in the US, and the tragicomic kidnapping of Patty Hearst. [Suggestion for new reality TV show: kidnap Paris Hilton and follow the hijinks as she totes a Versace AK-45 and loots investment banks] I’m going to need to read up on the Red Brigades, apparently. But I’ve read extensively about the US Weather Underground and the SLA, etc. My overall impression is that they were, basically, drugged out of their skulls and looking for excitement more than anything else. These kinds of small groups exhibit cult-like behavior and can be randomly dangerous – but are mostly dangerous to themselves. I don’t see a big difference between slash cults like the Mansons, and the SLA: their ideology appears to be thin and wispy justification for turning real life into a game of Grand Theft, Auto.

One thing I remember from one summer in the late 60s was asking my dad, “what is a Maoist?” and dad trying to explain it to me. His take was that the only thing “Maoist” about them was that they took seriously his quip that “power comes out of the barrel of a gun.” As usual, I think dad pretty much nailed it. Since then it’s always been funny to me when someone describes something as “Stalinist” or “Maoist” as if that somehow describes a theoretical framework of government. In fact, if we look at Stalin’s style of governance, or Mao’s, what we see is massive incompetence leading to the death of millions, coupled with ruthless and ignorant purges leading to the death of hundreds of thousands or millions. That’s not a political system, that’s slaughter-as-politics.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … he appears to have been napping in his car…

    The ProPublica/Oregon Public Broadcasting story has it that Reinoehl had just left an apartment and set out to drive somewhere:

    Late summer sunshine bathed a working-class neighborhood in suburban Olympia, Washington, on the first Thursday afternoon in September as Michael Forest Reinoehl left the Tanglewilde Terrace Townhomes, climbed behind the wheel of his silver Volkswagen station wagon and tossed a couple of travel bags onto the passenger seat.

    Warrants are best served with cold lead, apparently.

    I feel fairly sure the lead which entered Mike Reinoehl’s body was warmer than its target; they cooled down together.

  2. komarov says

    “He said the officers began shooting so suddenly that he initially assumed they were criminals gunning down an enemy, not police.”

    Precisely this is why I’m expecting a bunch of cops to die in the counter-fire from by-standers any day now. Trump him self used to go on and on about gangs and criminals, usually when advertising his wall, no? I can’t tell if these hit/police squads actually distinguish themselves from the non-police ones.

    “Lt Ray Brady said on Tuesday that Reinoehl had a loaded .380-caliber handgun in his front pocket, and that police found him with his hand on or near the gun after he was killed.”

    Stellar forensics if they can’t tell if the dead man has his hands on his weapon (they might not want to tell us, but they’re the good guys, so…). Also stellar case-builing if they want to argue that the man just gunned down in an apparent suprise attack might have been trying to go for his gun. This in the stand your ground 2nd amendment nation. No amount of good will and naivite in the world could possibly interpret that as “hostile intentions” towards the cops before the attack started. At the same time I suspect that’s pretty much what we’ll hear (if anyone is left) if there’s ever a nuclear exchange. “They had their leader on or near their nuclear launch codes, we had to defend ourselves with a first strike.*”

    *Also, cities are totally military targets. It’s where soldiers live before they join the army.

  3. says

    My understanding is that both Stalin and Mao represent rapid industrialisation and economic expansion, which in both cases allowed their respective nations to become competitive with the European nations and their unholy spawn, America. The horrific death toll which accompanied both examples is an inevitable consequence of an economy in emergency overdrive.

    It’s instructive to compare Stalin’s USSR to England during the industrial revolution. Widespread poverty coincident with a rapid urbanisation of the population, a life expectancy of 35 or lower and mass purges of the ‘criminal’ poor, to gulags or the colonies.

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