Police arrested Michael Strickland in Portland, Oregon, Thursday night after he allegedly pointed a gun at a crowd of people who were taking part in a Black Lives Matter rally.
A group of people gathered in the streets waving signs that read, “My very existence is considered resistance” and “#THISSTOPSTODAY.” The crowd disrupted traffic on Southwest 6th Avenue and chanted “Shut it down” and “No justice, no peace” as they marched on the Metropolitan Area Express train tracks.
Strickland, 36, faced misdemeanor menacing and second-degree disorderly conduct charges, jail records revealed. He was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center after the incident, according to The Portland Oregonian. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday, Portland police said.
The group “Don’t Shoot Portland” organized the rally, which began at Pioneer Courthouse Square in the downtown area. A crowd of nearly 400 people, which included many University of Oregon students, marched to the Justice Center, where Strickland allegedly began waving his gun.
Strickland explained to The Oregonian that he was surrounded by “anarchists” who pushed him and told him he needed to leave. It was unclear whether he planned to claim self-defense in court, although that seems like a reasonable inference from his statement.
A man in the crowd detained Strickland and later told The Oregonian he tried to calm him down before police arrived at the scene.
The protest dissipated by about 12:30 a.m. Friday with no further incidents being reported. No injuries were reported.
Watch video of the incident below:
The Oregonian reporter Jim Ryan posted an image of the event to his Twitter account:
— Jim Ryan (@Jimryan015) July 8, 2016
Police asked anyone who saw Strickland’s alleged behavior or anyone who might have photos or videos of the incident to email CrimeTips@portlandoregon.gov.
We strongly advocate for the right of all Americans to carry firearms and employ them, when necessary, in the defense of themselves and others. However, with that right comes the responsibility to resort to the threat and use of deadly force only when it is justified.
We do not have enough facts yet to know whether Strickland’s actions were a reasonable response to his situation, but as these kinds of events appear to be on the increase, we can only hope they are not the beginning of what could turn out to be a turbulent, racially charged summer.
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