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EXCLUSIVE: The August 2020 Shooting in Portland — An Eyewitness Narrative

EXCLUSIVE: The August 2020 Shooting in Portland — An Eyewitness Narrative

Content Warning: Police brutality, mention of murder

The Current Affairs Times interviewed Justin Dunlap, an eyewitness to Aaron J. Danielson’s murder in Portland on August 29. Justin Dunlap/Democracy Field Trip

Dylan Winsick, contributing

Portland – A fatal shooting occurred in Portland on Saturday, August 29 amid protests demanding justice for George Floyd and Jacob Blake. Aaron J. Danielson was shot in the chest as supporters of President Trump clashed with those protesting police violence. Danielson was identified as wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group with a history of violent encounters. The shooting incident was recorded by an eye witness identified as Justin Dunlap.

Justin Dunlap’s Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement:

The Current Affairs Times exclusively interviewed Justin Dunlap on his account of Danielson’s murder.

When asked about what made him join the Black Lives Matter movement, Justin mentioned that “[his] teenage daughter wanted to go down to the protest back in July.” 

According to Justin, Portland has seen thousands of people participate in the protests. When federal authorities were in town there were around 7,000-10,000 people downtown in Portland, near the Federal Building and the Justice Center.

He strongly believes the Black Lives Matter movement should not be negatively impacted by outside perpetrators. “One of the things about the Black Lives Movement is that they are not about breaking anyone down and not about endangering anyone…Weaponry has no place in peaceful protests,” he told the Current Affairs Times.

What Justin Saw:

Earlier that day, Justin attended another peaceful protest in Troutdale, twenty miles from downtown Portland. After hearing about the Patriot Prayer caravan carrying Bear Mace and paintball guns, he went to downtown Portland to cover the event by filming it. 

Dunlap saw semi trucks with flags in the back. Among them, a white pickup truck was “…hanging paintball guns out the window & shooting at people on the sidewalk.” This truck could be seen causing a ruckus at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Washington Street. Justin caught this scene on film.

Upon hearing yelling, he saw Danielson bring up his right arm to spray Bear Mace. Bear Mace happened to hit Justin, but Justin cannot confirm it was Danielson that sprayed him. Following this, Justin heard two quick gun shots. 

Justin could not see the shooter since he had Bear Mace in his eyes. He could only see Danielson collapse after being shot and two other men standing in front of Danielson run away.

Being incapacitated, Justin could not run to help, so he continued to film. Justin shared the video with the cops, who sent it to their Technology Intelligence Division. Sharing his video evidence with the authorities was the right thing to do, according to Justin.

Justin Dunlap told The Current Affairs Times, “In these times, your mind slows things down and protects you in a way that you don’t even register. It plays certain tactics to protect you from the horrors.” Justin still does not know where the shots came from. 

Dunlap also said media interviews are like individual therapy sessions for him. Going over the incident allows him to decompress, rather than bottle his emotions.

Why have George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and now Aaron J. Danielson not received justice as of yet? What can the Justice system do?

Image Credit: The Current Affairs Times

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Afia is a lawyer, journalist, an avid traveler, an avid reader, a foodie, and an amateur singer. She enjoys instrumental music with her glass of wine ?

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