- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2016

A conservative blogger who says he feared for his life during a Black Lives Matter protest Thursday night in Portland, Oregon, has been arrested after he briefly drew a handgun.

The man, identified by police as 36-year-old Michael Strickland, was at the demonstration near Pioneer Square taking pictures when he got into an argument with protesters, reported a local Fox News affiliate, which caught part of the incident on video.

Mr. Strickland pulled out a gun and held it out in front of him for a moment before putting it back in his waistband, Fox reported.

Mr. Strickland, a conservative activist who contributes to the Progressives Today blog, according to the Portland Tribune, later explained his side of the story.

“What happened was there were about 10 or 12 people that surrounded me,” he told Fox. “They started pushing and shoving me. They were using their flag staffs as weapons. I’m backing up, they kept coming towards me. They kept coming towards me. That’s why I drew. … I was outnumbered, they were pushing and shoving me. They were using their flag staffs as weapons. I was backing up, they kept coming towards me. I feared for my life because I was outnumbered and they had weapons.”

Another video uploaded to YouTube by the Willamette Week shows protesters following Mr. Strickland as he backs away from them. No one is seen putting their hands or other objects on him before he pulls a gun out of a holster on his right hip and points it excitedly at several people in the crowd. He holds the gun up for about 10 seconds before re-holstering the weapon.

Minutes later, a SWAT team arrived, Fox reported. Mr. Strickland was apprehended and taken into custody. He has been charged with menacing and disorderly conduct.

The protest otherwise ended peacefully after an estimated 1,000 protesters marched to the Morrison Bridge, closing it temporarily.

The protests happened the same night snipers shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven more at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Dallas.

The protests were in response to the recent police killings of two black men, Philando Castile of Minnesota and Alton Sterling of Louisiana.

“While these shootings occurred thousands of miles from Portland, we live in an age of constant media and social media dialogue that raises emotions in our own community,” newly appointed Police Chief Michael Marshman wrote in a note to officers Thursday. “Those emotions are a reality that we need to acknowledge and then continue to talk to people about what we are doing here in our community.”

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