The family of a MAGA supporter killed in Portland is suing the city for $13 million.
Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson’s family filed the suit in a federal court on Friday, claiming the city and its leaders’ negligence contributed to his death, according to OregonLive.com.
It claims that the ‘hands-off approach’ of dealing with the political demonstrations and counter-protests in 2020 allowed a ‘culture of vigilante policing’ between civilians and led to Danielson’s murder on August 29, 2020.
The lawsuit also accused Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt of being accountable in Danielson’s death by publicly announcing that he most likely wouldn’t pursue what he considered public order crimes.
‘We are seeking justice for the preventable death of a young man, gunned down in a city with a dangerous and deadly hands-off approach to public safety,’ Christopher L. Cauble, the attorney for Danielson’s estate, said in a statement.
‘City leadership and law enforcement have failed to find an effective response to clashing groups of protesters. For well over a year, they have known when and where these rallies would occur and the likelihood of escalating violence. Yet no strategy of protective intervention has been utilized to this day. This reckless dereliction of duty, cost our client, Aaron Danielson, his life,’ the attorney said.
The lawsuit alleges that law enforcement policies fostered an environment where protesters could expect ‘a skeletal and passive police presence’ leading up to Danielson’s death.
It claims that Portland Police Bureau officers were instructed to avoid disputes between opposing political groups .
The estate is seeking $13 million in damages: $1.5 million in economic damages, $1.5 million in non-economic damages and up to $10 million in punitive damages.
Danielson, a supporter of right-wing group Patriot Prayer, was killed in Portland had cancelled his 40th birthday plans to go to the pro-Trump rally, according to reports.
Danielson, 39, is said to have been gunned down just before he got home as Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with Trump supporters who drove in a caravan through the city.
Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer, said: ‘He loved to go to demonstrations.’ But Danielson’s friends and family say they do not know why he would have canceled his birthday plans to go camping as he loved nature, The Oregonian reports.
Stephanie Wilcox, 37, told the paper: ‘He liked to watch and take videos. He was not one to start a fight or get loud in somebody’s face.’
In disturbing footage, recorded by videographer Justin Dunlap, the victim, later identified as Danielson, appears to be following two other people down a street before two gunshots ring out and a cloud of smoke erupts at the source.
The person who appeared to fire the shots and a handful of other people nearby then flee out of view as the victim staggers for a few feet and collapses on the ground.