Portland Police Arrest Conservative Protester Skylor Jernigan for Firing Shots Into Crowd

Portland protests have grown more chaotic—and at times violent—in recent weeks.

Flag wave in North Portland on June 19, 2020. (Brian Brose)

Skylor Jernigan, a right-wing protester who has carried firearms to Oregon rallies to show support for President Donald Trump, was arrested Wednesday by Portland police for allegedly firing two gunshots at a crowd of Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

Jernigan, 27, of Milwaukie, was charged with two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon, along with three misdemeanors: menacing, recklessly endangering another person with a weapon, and discharging a firearm in the city.

He allegedly fired the two gunshots toward the crowd of political adversaries on Aug. 15, at the end of a conservative "flag wave" rally in downtown Portland. Freelance reporter Laura Jedeed identified him as the shooter in WW on Aug. 17. Two other witnesses at the scene corroborated her account.

Related: A far-right protester fired two gunshots at Black Lives Matter demonstrators last weekend.

Police say they recovered the gun Jernigan fired.

"I am pleased to hear about the apprehension of this suspect and recovery of a firearm. I want to thank our Portland Police Bureau investigators and partners with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office for their diligent efforts on this case," said Police Chief Chuck Lovell in a statement. "Tensions are running high in our city, and it is important for everyone to know PPB members are doing everything possible to prevent violence and criminal acts and investigate incidents that have already occurred."

Portland protests have grown more chaotic—and at times violent—in recent weeks. Pipe bombs exploded downtown and at Laurelhurst Park, and a man who got in a confrontation near a Black Lives Matter protest Aug. 16 was surrounded near his truck and kicked in the head.

Amid these incidents, Portland police have faced intense criticism, from both the left and the right, for not more swiftly arresting people who commit violence at protests. Police have responded that they have received little cooperation from the victims of attacks—many of whom are in the streets to protest against police.

City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty on Wednesday condemned the escalating violence and property destruction, which included a fire set Tuesday inside Multnomah County headquarters.

"As a child of the civil rights movement, I have made my philosophy of nonviolent direct action abundantly clear," she said. "I will consistently call out bad actors when I see them. While I call out PPB's conduct and condemn the nightly police violence, the pipe bomb thrown at protesters, and the gunshots towards protesters, I also condemn the small group of protesters' conduct last night at the Multnomah County building."

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