Democratic mayor, police launch coverup of fascist mass shooting in Portland

Late Tuesday evening, nearly 72 hours after shooting into a group of anti-police brutality protesters in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, leaving at least one person dead and four others injured, the fascist gunman, Benjamin Smith, was finally charged with murder.

Smith, 43, is facing one count of murder in the second degree with a firearm, four counts of attempted murder in the first degree with a firearm, two counts of assault in the first degree with a firearm, and two counts of assault in the second degree with a firearm.

Smith was first identified on Monday by a Portland-based journalist who follows the activities of the far right. But the police, who have held Smith in custody since the shooting, failed to release his name and identify him as a suspect until Tuesday.

As more details emerge of the mass shooting and the perpetrator, it becomes increasingly clear that Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler, in coordination with the Portland Police Bureau and federal agencies, is engaged in a coverup.

From the outset, most of the information given out by the police and Wheeler has proven to be either demonstrably untrue or in the service of a false narrative aimed at obscuring the political character of Smith’s rampage.

In contrast to initial police statements, which were reiterated at a Tuesday morning press conference, Smith’s targeting of anti-police violence protesters was politically motivated, and not just one of a number of incidents of gun violence in Portland over the weekend.

The victims of the shooting have confirmed that Smith deliberately targeted them, calling them “terrorist c*nts” before firing at them. He shot at least four unarmed women, killing 60-year-old Brandy “June” Knightly.

In an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), Smith’s roommate, Kristine Christenson, detailed Smith’s descent into far-right politics. In contrast to police statements, Smith was not an “armed homeowner,” but a renter, who lived with Christenson across the street from Normandale Park in Northeast Portland, the site of the protest and mass shooting.

Christenson told OPB that near the end of the Obama administration and throughout the Trump presidency, Smith became “more and more radicalized.” She added that she “did not feel safe with him, especially this last two years with the whole COVID thing. I think that made him even more angry.”

After revealing that FBI agents and Portland Police Bureau detectives had searched their apartment just after midnight on Sunday morning, and again on Monday evening, Christenson said she was not shocked by Smith’s rampage, noting that he owned several weapons, which were recently seized by the police.

Christenson said Smith “talked about wanting to go shoot commies and Antifa all the friggin’ time… He was angry at the mask mandates, he was angry at the damned liberals.”

The police refused to name Smith as a suspect until the Tuesday press conference. They continued to withhold the name of the woman he murdered, June Knightly, despite her having been identified in media reports on Monday evening. They claimed they had yet to speak with the dead woman’s family, more than 72 hours after the killing.

Smith’s brother, Aurthur Killion, told OPB that he has not been interviewed by the Portland police, who have refused to take his calls. “I’ve called both the detectives that were listed on one of the articles I read and neither of them would answer their phone. I called the detective branch itself and got a recorded message and that was it. Your police department in Portland sucks,” Killion told OPB.

That a coverup is underway is clear from Smith’s online postings. His fascist politics were documented last September in social media posts saved from a chat log for an anthropomorphic animal subculture group in which Smith participated. Posting under the name “Polybun,” Smith defended the Proud Boys, saying, “If proud boys shot up somebodies (sic) car they probably deserved it... thus far they sadly haven’t shot up someones car, because good christ that needs to happen.”

Aligning himself with the Third Reich, Smith/Polybun declared in another post: “If you make choose... I’m taking nazis over Antifa... Nazis have way way way hotter uniforms.”

In another post, Smith/Polybun defended far-right killer Kyle Rittenhouse. He wrote: “Throwing Kyle under the bus after all their talk was not only a dick move but flat out wrong. And it’s painfully obvious why... Company owned by Jews won’t support the kid that defended himself from Jews.”

Similar fascistic drivel was uncovered by researchers on Smith/Polybun’s Telegram account.

Despite the obvious political motivation for the killings, on Sunday night Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted, “While many of the details of last night’s shooting near Normandale Park are unclear, we do know one thing for sure: Our community is dealing with the sadness of another senseless act of gun violence.”

Moreover, the police and the Democratic administration are implying that blame for the deadly violence is shared by the killer and his victims. At the virtual press conference Tuesday morning, Police Chief Charles Lovell called Smith an “armed resident of the area” who “confronted … armed protesters.”

The facts are that Smith began shooting without provocation and was only stopped by an unidentified person who shot back to prevent the deaths of more people involved in a peaceful protest.

Police Chief Lovell confirmed accounts from protesters that police interfered with medics attempting to provide medical aid. He said, “Officers had to separate those present who were providing medical assistance, while also trying to move other people out of the crime scene so evidence was not compromised.”

In his comments, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said, without naming Smith, that the “suspect has been identified” and was “in critical condition.” Schmidt said he would not be announcing any charges on Tuesday.

At the press conference, neither Schmidt, nor Wheeler nor Lovell referred to the political character of Smith’s shooting rampage. In downplaying this central aspect, Wheeler and his law enforcement accomplices are employing a variation of the Republicans’ political line concerning the January 6 coup, which seeks to justify the violent attack on Congress as a legitimate response to mass left-wing protests against police violence that erupted across the country in 2020.