President Donald Trump praised U.S. marshals who shot and killed a Portland antifascist demonstrator at a Thursday campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina.
In early September, a fugitive-hunting task force run by the U.S. Marshals Service tracked Michael Reinoehl, 48, to an apartment complex in Lacey, Washington. Reinoehl was wanted as a suspect in the killing of a demonstrator at a pro-Trump rally just days before.
As OPB and ProPublica first reported this week, witnesses say the fugitive task force hunting Reinoehl did not use sirens or marked vehicles and did not announce they were police before shooting and killing him. A subsequent report from New York Times offered similar accounts of the shooting.
On Thursday, President Trump took credit for the deputy marshals' actions.
“I said, ‘What happened?’” Trump told a crowd of his supporters. “Well, we haven’t arrested him. Two days, three days went by. We sent in the U.S. Marshals. Took 15 minutes, it was over. Fifteen minutes, it was over; we got him.”
Trump: We sent in the US Marshals, took 15 minutes and it was over... They knew who he was, they didn’t want to arrest him and 15 minutes that ended pic.twitter.com/fJA5BsJVeF— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 15, 2020
The crowd cheered the president’s remarks.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service said the agency was unable to comment on the president’s remarks because the investigation into the shooting is still on going.
Previously, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service has denied that the attempt to arrest Reinoehl was initiated by the White House. They also stated that the fugitive task force had hoped to “peacefully arrest” Reinoehl that day.
Trump also appeared to contradict that statement Thursday.
“They knew who he was," Trump said. "They didn’t want to arrest him, and 15 minutes — that ended.”