The Murder of Michael Reinoehl – An Official Hit Job



On Thursday, October 15, at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump spoke about how federal agents and local police killed Michael Reinoehl—an anti-fascist activist who had been accused of killing a Trump supporter. Trump said, “We sent in the U.S. Marshals. Took 15 minutes, it was over; 15 minutes, it was over. We got him. They knew who he was, they didn’t want to arrest him. Fifteen minutes, that ended.”

And think about it: Trump said, “They didn’t want to arrest him.” What does that say about “innocent until proven guilty,” or “due process” in Trump’s America.  Not just a cold-blooded murder at the hands of armed feds and police—but a blatant and bragged about cold-blooded murder. One that Trump obviously sees as “good for his brand,” since he’s been consistently promoting this at his rallies.

Michael Reinoehl was one of thousands who took to the streets in Portland after the police murder of George Floyd. Protests had been going on night after night for over three months when on August 30, a pro-Trump rally drew hundreds to the city. Clashes broke out between the fascists and Black Lives Matter protesters, and a man affiliated with a right-wing, white supremacist group was shot and killed. Reinoehl was accused of murder and went into hiding, fearing vigilantes and cops were trying to hunt him down.

After an informant revealed where Reinoehl was, a “task force” of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies was formed. No warrant had been issued for Reinoehl’s arrest, but this hit squad went into action. 

On September 3, a pair of SUVs screeched to a halt in front of a car Reinoehl was getting into. U.S. Marshals immediately jumped out, guns blazing. Reinoehl tried to get away on foot, but the hail of bullets continued, killing him instantly. Investigators say 37 rounds from two rifles and two handguns were fired.

The fascist Trump/Pence regime used this as another opportunity to incite violence by armed fascists, both official and unofficial. Trump told Fox “News,” “This guy [Reinoehl] was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him… that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution…” Attorney General William Barr called Reinoehl a “violent agitator” and repeated the official story that U.S. Marshals were trying to make a “peaceful arrest” when Reinoehl pulled out a gun.

But 22 eyewitnesses interviewed by the New York Times said they didn’t hear the Marshals identify themselves or issue any commands before opening fire.1 The four pigs in the SUV claimed they shouted “Stop! Police!” before opening fire. But the Times reported that at least five eyewitnesses said gunfire started as soon as the pigs arrived. One man said, “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.” Reinoehl had a handgun on him, but accounts by the pigs themselves differ as to whether Reinoehl actually raised it. The gun was found in Reinoehl’s pocket. And investigators say there is no evidence Reinoehl fired a gun.

GUILTY until proven innocent – if you even live to testify. A “due process” of pigs hunting down and killing someone only accused, not proven guilty, of a crime. This is the kind of “Just Us” under the fascist Trump/Pence regime. And this is only a preview of what will come should Trump succeed in gaining a second term and locking down his fascist rule.


1. “‘Straight to Gunshots’: How a U.S. Task Force Killed an Antifa Activist,” New York Times, updated October 15, 2020.  [back]

Michael Reinoehl



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