UPRISING: The Attorney General Has Condoned an Extra-Judicial Killing

Because we are living in a burgeoning police state, those in power celebrated what sounded to many like a cold-blooded, extra-judicial hit job, writes Abby Zimet.

By Abby Zimet
Common Dreams

As officials marked 9/11 vowing to “hold terrorists accountable,” new evidence suggests last week’s swift and secretive police killing of activist Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, sought in the shooting of a right-wing Patriot Prayer follower, was a summary execution.

After the shooting, a U.S. Marshals Service statement noted, “Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers.”

Now a witness — an ordained minister living in the same apartment building — says an unarmed Reinoehl was walking to his car, holding a cellphone and eating a gummy worm, when officers opened fire with 30 to 40 shots without first announcing themselves or trying to arrest him.

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A professional snowboarder, former military contractor and father of two with a Black Lives Matter tattoo on his neck, Reinoehl was wanted on charges of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a firearm in connection with the fatal shooting of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, part of a rowdy, gun-toting, 600-vehicle MAGA caravan that roared through Portland during protests there.

In a VICE interview shortly afterwards, Reinoehl said the scene “felt like the beginning of a war (and) the police were letting it happen,” and that he shot Danielson in self-defense when he and a black friend were about to be stabbed: “I had no choice.”

He also said he was not part of any Antifa group but was “100 percent anti-fascist.” “We do not want violence but we will not run from it either,” he said. “This truly is fighting for my country.”

Reinoehl was killed in Lacey, Washington, by four members of a federal fugitive task force after being identified to police by his sister. 

Officials said Reinoehl pulled a gun, but acknowledged they “are not able to confirm at this time if he fired shots.”

And two witnesses said they saw Reinoehl fire at police, who were not wearing body cams.

But Nate Dinguss, a 39-year-old minister, said he saw two unmarked police cars converge on Reinoehl as he walked to his car; that the cops jumped out and began blasting rapid-fire rounds at Reinoehl, who ducked behind his car but never reached for anything; and that police waited “multiple minutes” before offering medical aid to Reinoehl, who died at the scene.

Because we are living in a burgeoning police state, those in power celebrated what sounded to many like a cold-blooded, extra-judicial hit job.

News of the killing came as President Donald Trump had rage-tweeted to police to “Do your job, and do it fast! Everybody knows who this thug is.”

Attorney General Bill Barr was so jubilant the Justice Department’s initial statement lauded the “takedown,” until somebody decided it sounded a bit too Al Capone-y.

Dubbing Reinoehl “a dangerous fugitive” and “admitted Antifa member” — did he have his membership card on him? — Barr ranted about the “significant accomplishment…The streets of our cities are safer with this violent agitator removed, and the actions (are) an unmistakable demonstration the United States will be governed by law, not violent mobs.”

Meanwhile, Dinguss says he fears reprisals from the right/police/same thing, his lawyer and others are urging an independent investigation so Reinoehl’s death at the hands of armed agents of the state  will “not be swept aside,” and many are wondering whatever happened to the due process this country is always touting. 

“Evidently there was a trial where he was convicted of murder by a jury of his peers and sentenced to death without appeal, and I seem to have missed it,” noted one sarcastically. And, “OK, now do Kyle Rittenhouse.”

Site in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Anthony Huber, shooting victim of Kyle Rittenhouse, was killed. (Lightburst, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Abby Zimet has written Common Dreams’ “Further” column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning print journalist for newspapers and magazines, she lived in the Maine woods for about a dozen years before moving to Portland, Oregon, in 1983. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women’s, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.

This article is from Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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7 comments for “UPRISING: The Attorney General Has Condoned an Extra-Judicial Killing

  1. September 17, 2020 at 09:26

    Well, the Attorney General may not be involved, but the United States is involved with extra-judicial killing virtually daily.

    Like the quiet ticking of a clock in the background, people legally guilty of nothing and charged with nothing, are hunted down and incinerated by Hellfire missiles. Often others die too.

    Young American men and and women in secret secure locations play computer games with real live people on their screens.

    I wonder do they pump their arms and shout, “Yes!” when they get “a kill”?

  2. September 16, 2020 at 22:48

    WoW…Rather frightening! Third Reich kinds of actions. Sure makes me wonder if I did the right thing in Nov. 2016. I told myself, lessor of two evils type of thoughts. Things like these make me wonder if any evil is lessor, or just another evil…..

  3. Anne
    September 16, 2020 at 08:47

    When the state licensed killers are allowed to kill without compunction and at best receive a slap on the wrist for their murders, you are in a really existing police state. Which suggests, if true, that this country has pretty much been so for a long time.

    And then – when the family of the deceased can get a hearing, the monies awarded (as in the recent decision vis a vis Breonna Taylor) are NOT paid by the killers (as they would be were they not state employed) but by the local – state, city – taxpayers. There is something really wrong with that picture, too.

  4. Tom Kath
    September 16, 2020 at 00:17

    I would suggest we must accept that the USA has entered into a CIVIL WAR. As an outsider, I cannot assess where exactly the divisions lie, and who is fighting who. What IS clear, is that the divisions are NOT along old expected lines, and actually cut across all normal delineations such as black/white, rep/dem, male/female, rich/poor, rural/urban, Christian/Muslim, etc. Even institutions such as the military and police are divided, possibly even broadly against each other?
    I seek intelligent “inside” American analysis as to details of the real divide.

  5. September 15, 2020 at 20:24

    Left wing bullshit. This site is not balanced in the least. Take care

    Open season on white males

    They were cracking the kid with a skateboard
    The second idiot Was heard saying he found Trump supporters
    Bring it on! Globalist garbage

  6. Dc_rez
    September 15, 2020 at 19:55

    This is disturbing on many levels.
    Rittenhouse an underage assassin was allowed to leave the scene with his mother, a co-conspirator who transported him and his weapon across state lines.

    The other, claims self defense and is gunned down by state assassins who hunted him down.

  7. michael888
    September 15, 2020 at 13:59

    Anwar Nasser al-Awlaki, his 16 year old son and his 8 year old daughter, all American citizens, were killed in three separate extrajudicial drone attacks in Yemen between September, 2011 and January, 2017.
    Qassem Soleimani, although not an American, was also droned in January 2020, reportedly under a flag of truce.
    Is it surprising that stuff like this can happen domestically as well? Reinoehl wasn’t even charged officially in the court record with murder until he was already dead, five days after the murder he bragged about.

Comments are closed.