Prosecutors in the Mike Strickland case suffered yet another embarrassing blow when they put their star witness on the stand, felon and ‘victim’ Ben Kerensa.
Kerensa was seen on several videos at the July 7th Black Lives Matter/Don’t Shoot PDX protest charging Strickland. The 400 pound man and others rushing him caused Strickland to draw his weapon and point it at the men rushing him. The prosecution calls him a ‘victim.’
What became clear as soon as he opened his mouth was that the only ‘victim’ in that courtroom was the truth.
Under cross examination Kerensa was found to have lied about:
- Talking to police July 7, though there was a police report.
- Emailing police information, though the email was never given to defense attorneys during discovery.
- How many times Mike pulled his gun. Kerensa testified Strickland pulled it as many as 5 times.
- Shoving Mike in the protest crowd.
Kerensa is an ecumenical felon, having been tried and convicted at both federal and state levels. He went to prison for impersonating FBI agents, been accused of extortion by a former boss, spent time in federal prison for making bomb threats on yet another former employer and a huge tech convention in San Francisco.
He was arrested for theft during the take over of Portland City Hall by protesters in October:
Kerensa and others menaced and surrounded the car of a couple who were trying to get to the airport but blocked by protesters a couple of weeks ago.
Viewers of KOIN 6 saw his antics during a live shot by a reporter covering the airport protest:
Observers told me that during Kerensa’s testimony the judge looked shocked and disconcerted. I don’t know what they’re basing that on. It could have been a case of gas for all I know, but that observation came from more than one court watcher.
Kerensa’s unbelievable testimony was followed up by Portland Police Officer Brandon Combs.
The cop, who also had been called by the prosecution and who was undercover and in the crowd during the protest, testified Strickland pulled his gun once. He also testified that he didn’t see the initial assault by the anarchists in the crowd which precipitated the unholstering of Strickland’s weapon.
Another police officer Mihran Andonian testified that he had his gun out at “low ready” as Strickland made his approach.
This is how a court observer said his cross examination went:
He testified that Mike was compliant and did not resist. On cross-exam, the defense attorney was able to ask some hypotheticals against unsuccessful objections by the state. “What if Mike came running to you? Would you have used your gun?” Andonian’s answer, “No, because there were many officers around and Mr. Strickland would’ve been tackled to the ground.” Follow up hypothetical by defense attorney, “What if you were all alone and he came running at you? Would you then draw your gun?” Andonian’s response, “Yes, I would draw my gun.”
The last hypothetical in which the officer claimed he would have drawn his gun was the exact situation in which Strickland found himself.
The prosecution also called the downtown precinct commander at the time, Chris Davis, who testified they heard about the protest but didn’t have enough time to get uniformed cops out there in time.
This explains why Strickland couldn’t depend upon help from cops and why he felt the need to defend himself.
Next: The prosecution rests.
See my previous posts on this case: