On Tuesday, Portland Antifa members posted on X claiming that a homeless man who was found dead in nearby Gresham on July 29 had been killed by police. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner has since revealed, however, that 46-year-old William Echols died of natural causes.
The Antifa accounts pushed their theory after Echols’ ex-partner, Donna Hayes, posted on Facebook claiming that one of her family members had been beaten to death by the cops. She is related to Quanice Hayes, the 17-year-old who was shot dead by police in 2017 after allegedly robbing a man while high on drugs and carrying a replica firearm.
“The kops did it again,” Hayes said. “They took out another one of my family member here in Portland. They beat him to death.”
Her post, which did not name Echols as the victim, received hundreds of reactions and was shared dozens of times.
On Tuesday evening, a number of prominent Antifa accounts, including one operated in part by notorious far-left intimidator Danialle Inez James, parroted Hayes’ claims and called for direct action.
“We’re about to show up,” RisingPDX posted. “Kops have … beat to death a member of Quanice Hayes family.”
“Alright, gear up,” another replied.
Elizabeth Renee Richter, who was recently a defendant in a civil trial brought forth by Andy Ngo, also appeared to spread the hoax.
It was only later that night that Echols’ name was dropped as the victim of what was believed to be another police beating.
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that he had died of natural causes.
“Investigators spoke to potential witnesses, reviewed surveillance video, and searched Echol’s vehicle pursuant to a signed search warrant,” Gresham Police said in a statement. “A Multnomah County deputy medical examiner responded to the scene and a full examination was subsequently performed. Detectives learned from the examination that Echols died of natural causes, specifically ‘gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.’ Detectives determined that the health event caused Echols to fall and hit his head on the ground in the parking lot, which caused the injury to his head.”
In the days following Echols’ death, a GoFundMe was set up by his daughter, Alexis, on behalf of her mother, his ex, Heather. In the description, Alexis said her dad had died as the result of a “sudden unknown medical emergency.”
“My dad didn’t have a lot to give but he was adventurous, smart, funny, and he loved us the best way he knew how,” she added. “We will use this money for funeral and memorial services and additional funds will go directly to his children.”
The GoFundMe has since raised nearly $4,500, with $135 coming in the days since Antifa spread the false claim that Echols was killed by police.