A woman who says she was injured by a paintball fired by a pro-Trump supporter during a clash between right-wing and opposing demonstrators in downtown Portland last month has filed a $250,000 lawsuit against the man she says shot her.
In her lawsuit filed Monday, Meg McLain says she was observing the rally next to the Multnomah County Justice Center on Aug. 22 when Alan Swinney intentionally shot her, leaving a large red welt and circular injury to one of her breasts.
Swinney couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
About 300 people attended the rally to support President Trump and police or to counterprotest. Supporters of the conservative group Proud Boys as well as the left-leaning Black Lives Matter and antifa movements were all present.
Swinney, who has described himself on social media as a conservative and a Trump supporter, was photographed by The Oregonian/OregonLive pointing the paintball gun toward a crowd of antifa or Black Lives Matter protesters and then seen shooting. He also was seen pointing a firearm at the crowd, but he did not shoot.
A reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting also captured video of Swinney shooting paintballs.
McLain’s Portland attorney, Michael Fuller, said his client immediately reported to police what Swinney had done to her and they spoke to him but didn’t arrest him.
“She really was there as an unaffiliated observer,” Fuller said. “She was just curious about what was going on.”
Nonetheless, Fuller said police weren’t interested in arresting Swinney on the spot.
“It’s just one of the many cases where police are seemingly showing favoritism to Trump supporters,” Fuller said.
No criminal charges have been filed against Swinney. A Portland police spokesperson didn’t return a question about the status of the investigation Tuesday. Brent Weisberg, a spokesman for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, said his office is investigating the case.
The Aug. 22 clash lasted for several hours — with demonstrators on either side shouting, throwing rocks and bottles, unleashing pepper spray or mace and dueling with fists as Portland police mostly stood back. Hours later, Police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters at a news conference that officers didn’t want to escalate the situation.
“When you interject yourself as the police into this volatile mix sometimes it has a worse intention or worse outcome than what was happening initially,” he said.
The suit includes a social media post that it states was written by Swinney, who “has a history as an irresponsible gun owner who travels to Oregon to organize substantial and purposefully violent rallies and events.” The post included in the lawsuit reads, in part: “Haha. One of the terrorists is crying to Portland police about getting hit by a paintball. …(I)f they think I’m going to turn myself in to an argy (sic) mob, they are insane lol.”
Swinney’s Twitter page says he lives in Midland, Texas.
The lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Along with Fuller, Portland attorney Kelly Jones is representing McLain.
— Aimee Green
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