On Thursday night, 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl, a man suspected of killing Trump supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson, died in a shootout as U.S. Marshals closed in on his hideout. Reinoehl had posted, “I am 100% ANTIFA all the way,” (although he later insisted he was not a “member” of antifa) and he had joined the rioters during most of the nearly 100 nights they have terrorized the streets of Portland. He all but confessed to shooting Danielson in an interview Vice News published on Thursday. After Reinoehl’s death, Portland antifa rioters appear to have made him something of a martyr.
“You murdered Michael Reinoehl,” antifa rioters spray-painted on the street in front of the Penumbra Kelly Building, which houses Portland Police Bureau (PPB) offices and which rioters have repeatedly attacked.
“You killed Michael,” another graffiti message charged. “PPB murdered Michael Reinoehl,” read another. “[There is] blood on YOUR hands,” read a fourth.
Another graffiti message featured hearts saying, “Long live Mike the best ally ever.”
What’s disturbing to me is the message that calls Reinoehl the “best ally ever.” Not only do antifa not rebuke his murderous actions, they praise it over & over.
Antifa also put up a poster nearby featuring quotes from convicted murderer & fugitive Assata Shakur. pic.twitter.com/4EdZ8fsYA5
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) September 4, 2020
Portland police had reportedly been investigating Reinoehl in connection with the Danielson shooting and they issued an arrest warrant for the suspect on Thursday. The police tasked the U.S. Marshals with bringing him in.
Police had arrested Reinoehl on July 5 amid a violent riot in front of the federal courthouse. Authorities dropped the charges on July 30, before Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt took office. Schmidt infamously announced his office would decline to prosecute various crimes, including interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest, in some circumstances. Reinoehl also failed to appear for a court date after state police arrested him and his 17-year-old son in a June 8 speed-racing case in eastern Oregon. Reinoehl also faced allegations of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, recklessly endangering another, unlawful possession of a gun, and driving while suspended and uninsured.
Reinoehl’s refusal to turn himself in maked sense given his long rap sheet.
“I feel that they’re trying to, you know, put other charges on me. They’ll find another way to keep me in,” he told freelance journalist Donovan Farley in the interview Vice published.
The riot Thursday night
Portland antifa rioters spray-painted the tributes to Reinoehl during a riot at the Penumbra Kelly Building, PPB reported. Rioters outfitted with helmets, gas masks, armor, and shields stormed the police offices after 9 p.m., throwing projectiles at the building. Support vehicles blocked the street to give the mob access.
Police warned the mob to disperse at 9:35 p.m. as rioters came on to the property, lobbed projectiles, and spray-painted the building. At 11:25 p.m., police again told the mob to stop throwing projectiles at the building. Just before midnight, officers made targeted arrests.
After midnight, a vehicle drove through the mob, narrowly missing rioters. The police stopped that vehicle and issued a citation. Officers also cited the owners of some of the antifa support vehicles parked on the street in order to block traffic. Some support vehicles did not have license plates while others had duct tape covering their plates. The cops had one of the vehicles towed.
The mob mostly dispersed by 2 a.m., and cops only made two arrests. The police did not use crowd control munitions or tear gas.
Warnings of a civil war
In his final interview, Reinoehl predicted a civil war.
“Honestly, I hate to say it, but I see a civil war right around the corner,” the suspected shooter told Farley. He recalled the shot that killed Danielson. “That that shot felt like the beginning of a war.”
Reinoehl made similar warnings in an Instagram post in June.
“Every revolution needs people that are willing and ready to fight. There are many of us protesters that are just protesting without a clue of where that will lead. That’s just the beginning, that’s where the fight starts. If that’s as far as you can take it thank you for your participation but please stand aside and support the ones that are willing to fight,” he wrote.
“I am 100% ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for,” he added. “We are currently living through a crucial point in Humanities [sic] evolution. We truly have an opportunity right now to fix everything. But it will be a fight like no other! It will be a war and like all wars there will be casualties.”
Tragically, it seems the antifa rioters in Portland are turning Reinoehl into a martyr, which is a troubling sign that his premonitions of civil war may not be entirely overblown.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.