Trump claims US Marshals ‘didn’t want to arrest’ suspect they killed
Trump previously said that the killing of Michael Reinoehl by US Marshals was 'retribution'
President Donald Trump seemingly insinuated that US Marshals killed a citizen without due process at a campaign rally.
The commander-in-chief was at an outdoor rally in Raleigh, North Carolina when he made the comments in reference to the death of Michael Reinoehl. The Antifa activist allegedly killed Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, a pro-Trump protester, over the summer in Portland, Oregon, and was a fugitive from justice. Reinoehl told Vice News that he was providing security for Black Lives Matter protesters and acted in self-defense.
“I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that,” he said shortly before his death.
Reinoehl was killed on Sept. 3 in Lacey, Washington by the federal fugitive task force only hours after a warrant was issued in the second-degree murder charge in Danielson’s death. It was their stated mission to “peacefully arrest” Reinoehl but the encounter ended with more than 30 bullets being fired at Reinoehl.
US Marshals insisted through a statement that Reinoehl “produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” and it justified their use of force.
However, Trump contradicted the official narrative on Thursday, suggesting that Reinoehl was killed without the benefit of being allowed to surrender peacefully.
“We sent in the US Marshals, it took 15 minutes and it was over. They got him,” Trump said as the crowd cheered. “They knew who he was, they didn’t want to arrest him and 15 minutes that ended.”
Trump’s comments came only days after a New York Times exclusive that called into doubt whether Reinoehl, 48, pulled a gun on law enforcement. At the time of his death, a .380-caliber handgun was found in his possession but it was in his pocket, according to the investigation.
Five eyewitnesses told NYT that the US Marshals immediately used their service weapons. Garrett Louis saw the exchange while trying to get his 8-year-old son away from the conflict.
“I respect cops to the utmost, but things were definitely in no way, shape or form done properly,” Louis said.
He added that there were no warnings sent.
“There was no, ‘Get out of the car!’ There was no, ‘Stop!’ There was no nothing. They just got out of the car and started shooting,” Mr. Louis said.
Another witness, Chad Smith, agreed and claimed that law enforcement just began to shoot.
“There was no yelling. There was no screaming. There was no altercation. It was just straight to gunshots,” Smith said.
Trump previously told Fox News that Reinoehl’s death was “retribution,” in September.
“This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him,” the president told Fox News. “And I will tell you something, that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.”
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