One of the speakers at the “Free Mike Strickland” rally was one of the witnesses at his trial.
Strickland, a freelance journalist, drew his legal, licensed concealed hand gun to fend off a violent mob of anarchists while covering a Black Lives Matter/Don’t Shoot PDX march and rally July 7, 2016.
After covering the event for awhile, Strickland was assaulted by a group of protesters who admitted in court they conspired to throw him out. They assaulted him once and then came back after him. Strickland was forced to draw his weapon after efforts to back them off with verbal commands and defensively using his monopod failed to back them off.
The mob came from three sides in order to attack and stop him from covering the rally.
Rightly believing he was in danger, Strickland swept the black bloc attired mob, without his finger on the trigger, to stop the threat coming at him. It worked. He was able to back up the street to safety — until the Multnomah County DA’s office victimized him again.
He was convicted on 21 charges, ten of which were felonies, by a Multnomah County judge in February after two minutes consideration.
Nate Milsap told the crowd in part:
“I was at the 7/7 2016 protest, right across the street here where Mike was victimized. I was used as a witness in the trial against Mike Strickland and I am shocked at the outcome. It’s absolutely injustice what’s happening to Mike.
[ … ]
It was now and was at the time his first amendment right to report on that event or any other public event in Portland. However, a small faction of hostile and aggressive protesters identified Strickland and conspired to physically assault him and/or remove him from the premises.
[ … ]
With Strickland being encroached by a small group of hostile protesters with bad intentions, Strickland backed away using his monopod camera stand as a buffer or median to keep his distance.
As a personal witness to this event, I can testify – and have testified in a court of law – that Strickland was backed up 30 to 40 feet before he unholstering his firearm and scanning the horizontal plane for 4-5 seconds and re-holstering.
Even though Michael had raised the level of necessary force to eventually draw his weapon, protesters still converged and provoked him. They provoked him for almost two city blocks before [police] arrested him.
I submitted my testimony and footage in hopes that Mike would be free and clear of any charges. I believe that both my testimony and footage clearly show that Michael Strickland showed great restraint and caution in the name of self defense.
Instead, he’s been found guilty of ten counts of unlawful use of a weapon, ten counts of menacing and one count of second degree disorderly conduct.
[ … ]
Michael Strickland was attacked. And in spite of being in front of the Portland Police station, the police were not there to protect him. Strickland defended himself with the necessary level of force to protect himself from harm. He managed to refrain from discharging a single round from his firearm, as well as refraining from harming one single person at the [event].
Michael Strickland is the victim here.
[ … ]
I find that Michael Strickland’s case is and should be important to every single American. This is a scary new precedent that’s being set here, people.
When our own government threatens to punish and prosecute someone for taking a responsible and necessary measure to preserve and protect their own life and liberty, then they can and will do that to anyone.”
Milsap says he wrote to the editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Kevin Michalowski, who rendered an opinion on the case after seeing three different angles of the event.
The editor told him that in no uncertain terms Strickland should appeal.
Milsap read from a letter the law enforcement officer, writer and shooting instructor sent to him about the case:
“With mob mentality at these events, [Strickland] could easily have been punched, kicked and stomped to death if he had been knocked to the ground. More than 700 people a year are beaten to death by unarmed attackers in this country.
In my opinion, as a law enforcement officer certified by the state of Wisconsin, that the defendant used a measured and acceptable response to a violent threat to facilitate a safe retreat.
[ … ]
When faced with a greater number of potential adversaries, officers are allowed to use objectively reasonable force to ensure their safety.
Based on the video footage, I believe the defendant used objectionably reasonable force and showed restraint.”
In short, Mike Strickland is innocent.
A couple of points of clarification about Milsap’s comments. Strickland has been a concealed weapons permit holder since 2011. It wasn’t after the attack that he began carrying. And the attack on Strickland was done, not at a protest but during an investigation the journalist was conducting on an anti-gun filmmaker.
There’s another cop who believes that. Here’s a post I did shortly after the incident which had other law enforcement look at the case and render the same judgement.
And here are the previous posts I’ve done on the Strickland case: