Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Northwest, Police, Repression
Portland police announced on Thursday that they arrested 47-year-old Christopher Knipe on second-degree murder charges, for the 2019 murder of a 23-year old anarchist, Sean “Armenio” Kealiher. Kealiher, a well known anarchist and antifascist in the Portland area, was murdered in a hit and run a few blocks away from Cider Riot, a local brewery known for hosting antifascist events and the center of a violent far-Right attack on May Day of that same year. Kealiher’s murder set off a wave of far-Right harassment against his family, which was documented in the podcast series, Dying for a Fight.
Antifascist researchers in the Pacific Northwest and Kealiher’s mother have publicly linked Knipe to Sean’s murder for over two years. As Oregon Live wrote:
Kealiher’s mother, Laura, has for years in online postings publicly accused Knipe of killing her son, saying she was able to link him to the SUV abandoned at the scene using public records.
After more than a year of inaction from the Portland Police Bureau and other investigative authorities, Armeanio’s mother publicly released two names of the men responsible for the murder of her son: Scott Wayne Duncan and Christopher Edward Knipe. pic.twitter.com/WFHTxboNKZ
— Emerald Valley Anarchists (@EVARA161) August 5, 2022
According to antifascist researchers with Eugene Antifascists:
Anarchist Sean Kealiher AKA Armeanio was murdered just past midnight on October 12, 2019, by a group of men driving a silver SUV. These men intentionally struck Armeanio head on with the vehicle. As Armeanio struggled with the last few moments of his life, his killers fled, leaving the SUV abandoned less than a block away from the scene of the crime. After more than a year of inaction from the Portland Police Bureau and other investigative authorities, Armeanio’s mother publicly released two names of the men responsible for the murder of her son: Scott Wayne Duncan and Christopher Edward Knipe.
The silver SUV abandoned near the scene of the murder was registered to Christopher Knipe’s uncle, Douglas. Scott Duncan was allegedly driving the vehicle at the time of the murder. He has an extensive criminal history, including a 2018 arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants, recklessly endangering another person, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, strangulation, and most recently, a 2019 charge for assault in the fourth degree.
Scott Duncan and Proud Boy Garrett Martin Sipe are longtime friends. They both grew up in the small town of Craig, Alaska and graduated from Craig High School. They remained friends after high school, and a few years after graduation they both moved to Oregon where they lived together in at least two different houses in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, Garrett Sipe and Scott Duncan are connected and interact with each other through social media, including Facebook, where Sipe frequently boosts far-right material.
Garrett Martin Sipe (DOB 9/29/1985), a resident of Willamina, Oregon, is a violent member of the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys are an ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist group founded by Canadian bigot Gavin McInnes in 2016. Garrett Sipe was a member of the PNW Patriot Coalition, a brief collection of far-right groups that communicated online to plan violence throughout Oregon.
MOURN THE DEAD FIGHT LIKE HELL FOR THE LIVING
— Daniel V. Media (@danielvmedia) October 15, 2019
Many have accused the Portland police of refusing to arrest Sean’s killers due to his politics as an anarchist and the documented bias of local law enforcement. Portland police have coordinated directly with far-Right groups while targeting antifascists at street protests and for years, police have allowed far-Right groups like the Proud Boys to engage in violence against the broader community and counter-protesters with impunity. As the Intercept wrote:
But more than a year after her son’s death, [Sean’s mother,] Laura Kealiher regrets trusting police, whom she now believes had no interest in solving the murder of an activist who made no secret of his contempt for them. She and others have come to the conclusion, based on their own investigations, that Kealiher’s killing was not targeted, but rather the result of an argument that had nothing to do with his politics or those of his killer. Still, the killing, and the fact that it remains unsolved, has left a deep wound and seething anger in a city that has for decades been a battleground for far-right violence and has seen that violence resurface in recent years.