A police killing of an armed black man in Washington state touched off a violent showdown featuring Black Lives Matter and Antifa followers that raged until the early hours of Saturday.
Dozens from both movements descended on Vancouver from nearby Portland, Oregon, roughly 15 miles away, to protest the death of Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old black man who sheriff’s deputies fatally shot Thursday night after he fired on them, a journalist on the scene reported.
The demonstrators infiltrated a crowd that gathered Friday evening to honor Peterson, who played football in high school and just had a new daughter.
Shortly before the candlelight vigil, hundreds chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Black Lives Matter!” the Columbian reported. Signs on the fence of a bank parking lot nearby read “Scream His Name” and “Stop the Lynching.”
Down the street stood counterprotesters of all kinds — some carrying weapons, others waving American flags and pro-Trump flags. Then, tempers flared. The sides went after each other.
They pulled each other to the pavement, throwing jabs and kicking. They moved to smash the windows of businesses, burned American flags, fired guns into the air and cursed the police, journalist Andy Ngo tweeted.
In the crowd was Jarrett Byrd, a Black man, who came to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
“There’s a lawlessness in our law enforcement,” Byrd told the Columbian.
Peterson’s family remembered their loved one on social media and questioned why the Clark County Sheriff’s Office took so long to make the shooting public, the Seattle Times reported.
Narcotics officers, according to Sheriff Chuck Atkins, believed Peterson was selling illegal drugs and met him in a motel parking lot. A chase followed. Peterson showed a handgun. The officers backed off and Peterson ran again.
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