Violent confrontations between people protesting for racial justice and people who find the very concept offensive have been happening on the streets of Portland, Oregon—a hotbed of white supremacy—for most of the summer.
Following up last weekend’s ‘Back the Blue’ rally, which ended in violence between far-right protestors and anti-racism protestors, clashes again took place between members of the opposing groups this Saturday and left one person dead.
According to AP, the victim appeared to be a white man who was bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group in Portland that has regularly been getting in fisticuffs with protestors on the streets.
Also in the area on Saturday was a caravan of nearly 600 vehicles driven by Trump supporters who had travelled to Portland to “rally” and show how much they back the racist president.
The pro-Trump rally’s organizer, who coordinated a similar caravan in Boise, Idaho, earlier in the week, said in a video posted on Twitter Saturday afternoon that attendees should only carry concealed weapons and the route was being kept secret for safety reasons.
The caravan had gathered earlier in the day at a suburban mall and drove as a group to the heart of Portland. As they arrived in the city, protesters attempted to stop them by standing in the street and blocking bridges.
Videos from the scene showed sporadic fighting, as well as Trump supporters firing paintball pellets at opponents and using bear spray as counter-protesters threw things at the Trump caravan.
It isn’t clear if the shooting involved homegrown Portlanders or people who drove there looking to get involved in the trouble on the streets (like Kyle Rittenhouse did when he traveled to a protest in Wisconsin with an AR-15 and ended up killing two people).
Police haven’t said much about Saturday’s fatal shooting, outside of confirming that “they responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and determined that the victim was deceased.”
Video posted on social media by Justin Dunlap, who was walking through the streets of Portland on Saturday night and streaming live on Facebook, appear to show the shooting happening and then police pulling up shortly after. Cops say they are aware of the video and are continuing their investigation.
This latest incident mirrors many other violent and fatal confrontations across the country this year. In fact, new data from the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right reveals that armed white vigilantes and far-right protestors have shown up in opposition of Black Lives Matter protests nearly 500 times this year.
Six of these incidents have ended in people being shot and three people have died from gunshot wounds in these confrontations, said researcher Alexander Reid Ross who told HuffPost he started collecting the data in May after national protests began in response to the killing of George Floyd.
“There just isn’t really anything to compare it to,” Ross said of his findings. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”
One thing seems to be becoming evident: in some places in America, the so-called race war is already on and popping.