On Thursday, a black police officer in Portland opened fire at a white man who charged him with a screwdriver. Yet it seems antifa got the wrong memo. At least 50 protesters gathered at the Motel 6 where the black cop shot the white man, apparently gearing up for a violent riot in the name of racial justice. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB), likely desperate to de-escalate the situation, rushed to Twitter with the important news that would bring peace to the situation: The victim was white.
“There is erroneous information being circulated on social media regarding in the officer involved shooting in the Lloyd district. We can confirm that the subject involved is an adult white male. No one else was injured,” the police announced on Twitter in the wee hours of Friday morning.
There is erroneous information being circulated on social media regarding in the officer involved shooting in the Lloyd district. We can confirm that the subject involved is an adult white male. No one else was injured.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 25, 2021
Whew! Crisis averted. Had the victim been a black man shot by a white cop, his name would likely have joined the litany with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, and so many others. Yet since the man who charged cops with a screwdriver had been white, his death was acceptable — barely even a statistic.
After the shooting, PPB announced that an investigation was underway. The department put the officer who fired the fatal shot on paid administrative leave, as is the standard practice, The Oregonian reported.
“During the investigation, a group gathered at the crime scene and began yelling, throwing items at officers, and attempting to interfere with the investigation,” PPB reported in a press release. “One officer’s baton was grabbed and she was being pulled toward the crowd. Other officers quickly intervened. Someone from the crowd pepper sprayed an officer. At least one police vehicle’s tires were punctured and a window broken. Police officers citywide were called to assist with scene security.”
According to The Oregonian, the protesters were dressed in the black bloc outfits of antifa and they carried antifa signs.
At this point, the police released the information that the victim had been white. It remains unclear whether this information led the crowd to disperse, but the police report did not mention any continuing violence.
The shooting took place after police arrived for a welfare check on a white adult male at the Motel 6 at 7:06 p.m. After a conversation with the cops, the man charged at them with the screwdriver and the officer opened fire after stepping back. It seems the cop did the right thing by firing in self-defense.
“The subject involved was transported to a hospital by ambulance. Despite lifesaving efforts by medical personnel, he was deceased,” the police reported.
On Friday, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office completed the autopsy and identified the man as 40-year-old Michael Ray Townsend, a white man with “trust” and “faith” tattoos on his eyebrows. The police identified the officer involved as Curtis Brown, a black 18-year veteran of the PPB.
The department also shared a video of the shooting.
“Transparency and community trust are extremely important to us, but so is a full, complete, and thorough investigation. This illustrates how important it is to allow the investigation process to unfold before spreading unverified information,” Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. “An officer use of deadly force is among the most important investigations that we do, and it’s crucial that we take the time to do it right.”