When police last week surrounded Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-described anti-fascist suspected of fatally shooting a member of a far-right group in Portland, Ore., the wanted man wasn’t obviously armed, a witness to the scene said Wednesday.
In fact, according to Nate Dinguss, Reinoehl was clutching a cellphone and eating a gummy worm as he walked to his car outside an apartment complex in Lacey, Wash. That’s when officers opened fire without first announcing themselves or trying to arrest him, Dinguss, a 39-year-old who lives in the apartment complex, said in a statement shared with The Washington Post.
Dinguss’s account of the Sept. 3 fatal shooting, first reported by the Oregonian, contradicts details offered by federal authorities, who said Reinoehl, 48, pulled a gun as members of a fugitive task force tried to arrest him. Two other witnesses also told the Olympian they had seen Reinoehl fire a weapon at police.
If Reinoehl did pull a gun — or was seen reaching for a weapon — police wouldn’t have needed to warn him before opening fire.
Dinguss, whose attorney described him as an ordained minister, said he fears reprisals from far-right groups and police for describing what he saw unfolding outside his apartment. [Continue reading…]