Michael Strickland is on trial in a Multnomah County courtroom on a 21 count felony indictment for pulling his gun in self defense at a group of anarchists rushing him at a protest.
Strickland, who’s a journalist working for his own news platform called “Laughing at Liberals” as well as doing occasional work for another online news publication, recorded the July Black Lives Matter/Don’t Shoot PDX event July 7, 2016.
Day one of the trial saw arguments about admissible evidence and jury selection.
Quite a bit of discussion centered on legal distinctions between possession of a weapon and carrying a weapon.
While previous works by Strickland were ruled as inadmissible for some reason, the prosecution got into evidence the number of magazines the journalist had in his possession when he was arrested.
They undoubtedly hope to depict the Portland man as a crack pot who came to murder a bunch of people that day.
But Strickland had been to this rodeo before. There’s plenty of evidence, though now it may not be admissible, showing him hassled and threatened by protesters before–sometimes within an inch of his nose as someone yelled in his face–while continuing to record.
It’s one of the reasons why the protesters, and a particular anarchist contingent, don’t like him. He records their activities–holds up a mirror–and they feel stupid.
The prosecution also hopes to depict him as a crack pot gun nut with a camera–not a journalist.
To that end, prosecutors Kate Molina and Todd Jackson hope to leave the impression that Strickland is somehow a “protester,” which is something that is clearly not true. If he’s a protester then every camera operator and reporter covering protests are too.
He wasn’t assaulted, pushed and hit with anarchists sticks because he was a “protester,” he was assaulted and they came back to do him harm again because he was a journalist who recorded their activities and they didn’t like it.
Already the “protester” label has found its way into Portland media. While listening to KXL Monday afternoon, the anchors twice called Strickland a “protester.” See a letter I sent to KXL on this matter below.
Strickland knew enough about what this group was capable of that he often wore his legal, licensed concealed hand gun in the off chance that someday he’d need it. That day came last July 7th.
As a marauding group of anarchists came at him, he pulled his gun and kept them from hurting him.
Now he’s on trial for his freedom.
Jury selection began from a group of 40 citizens. It continues today.
In the chambers to support Strickland were former U.S. Senatorial candidate Mark Callahan, who’s a friend of Strickland’s; science writer, former local TV newsman and retired commercial airline pilot, Chuck Wiese; and local businesswoman Kathleen Worman.
Letter to KXL:
Victoria Taft here. I’m writing in my capacity as a journalist, indeed a former local president of a Society of Professional Journalists chapter, a working journalist and as a radio host.
I listened to your coverage of the Michael Strickland case on KXL in the 5pm hour of Monday and noticed you referred to him as a “protester.”
Strickland is not, nor has ever been, a “protester.” He runs a news platform called “Laughing at Liberals” on YouTube and has been a writer for Progressives Today, a news platform. He’s a working journalist–or at least was, until the prosecutors ordered him to stop doing his job.
The prosecution in this case has sought to depict Strickland as a “protester” to marginalize his rationale for being at the protest July 7, 2016 in his role as a reporter.
Prosecutors seek to make the case that somehow he’s some nut case with a gun who came to shoot people. That’s absurd on its face. He brought his legal, licensed concealed handgun to protect himself from a cadre of anarchists beelining to hurt him and who, indeed, had already assaulted him on that day.
He’s been covering these folks for years without incident.
It’s a darned good thing he had his weapon with him last July or we’d be reporting on fund raisers to pay for his hospital bills or something equally horrific.
By your choosing to use the untrue and prejudicial words of the deputy district attorney who’s trying to put this citizen journalist in prison for 50+ years, you belie your “objective” stance in the case.
Please correct the record and henceforth use the word “journalist” to describe Strickland, since that’s what he is.
Thank you for your kind attention to this important matter.
See my previous posts on this case here:
Here’s What 4 Cops & a 2-A Activist Saw When They Watched ‘Man Pulls Gun on PDX Protesters’ Video