White Supremacist Rally in Portland Leads to Multiple Arrests
|thenorthstar||Aug 20, 2019|
More than a dozen protestors were arrested by the Portland Police Bureau this past weekend after white supremacists descended on Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland’s downtown area. Right-wing demonstrators clashed with Antifa (anti-fascist) counterprotestors leading to the arrests.
An estimated 1,200 people participated in the rally held by the Proud Boys, a right-wing and white nationalist group, that traveled to Portland to condemn anti-fascist activists, authorities said. Portland Police said that 13 people were arrested during the demonstrations.
Two men, identified as 37-year-old Alexander G. Dial and a John Doe of unknown age, were held at the Multnomah County Detention Center. Dial was charged with attempted assault in the second degree and unlawful use of a weapon. The John Doe was charged with second degree disorderly conduct.
Nine people were cited in lieu of custody and released, the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement. They were identified as: Michael A. Mitchell, 44; Jamal O. Williams, 43; Hezekiah Bulnes, 23; Richard J. Klimek, 51; Teagan Winkler, 21; Alonna Mitsch, 26; Ryan Georgioff, 30; Zachary Lange, 21; and Brandon Howard, 33. Charges ranged from disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, interfering with police, assault, giving false information, and possession of weapons in the park.
Two juveniles, a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, were referred to the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Juvenile Services Division on charges of disorderly conduct. Portland Police did not clarify whether those arrested belonged to far-right protestors or antifa counterprotestors. Sergeant Kevin Allen, a department spokesperson, told The North Star that Portland Police do not label criminal suspects based on their political or group affiliation. He also confirmed that the “John Doe” has not been identified yet.
Additional arrests are still possible, police said.
Skirmishes between the two groups erupted around the city as police attempted to keep them separated. Small groups crisscrossed bridges with confrontations breaking out on the city’s east and west sides.
Demonstrators clad in black and wearing face masks threw mayonnaise and, in at least one instance, broke the windows of a shuttle bus that was transporting right-wing demonstrators, OregonLive reported. Police eventually declared a civil disturbance in the area of Southwest Park Avenue and Southwest Yamhill Street and ordered everyone to disperse. Authorities said that the response was complicated by several factors, including “the geographic spread of the protests, the number of hours over which it developed, the fact that four different bridges were affected, and the purposeful conduct of participants.” Officers were involved in at least six “force events,” including one in which an officer deployed pepper balls.
Six people were treated by Portland Fire medics for minor injuries related to the demonstrations. One person was transported to a local hospital, police said.
Joe Biggs, a Florida resident and former InfoWars staffer, said the event was successful. “We wanted national attention and we got it,” Biggs told OregonLive.
“Mission success.” Biggs helped organize the far-right protest and called on supporters to denounce the recent attack against conservative writer Andy Ngo in Portland.
Far-right demonstrators are also supporting a bill by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that aims to have Congress identify Antifa as a domestic terrorist group, The New York Times reported.
President Donald Trump commented on the situation in Portland and said that “major consideration” was being given to naming Antifa an “organization of terror.” He did not make mention of the right-wing groups at the protest, even though the two groups have a history of clashing.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler criticized Trump for wading into the issue. “This is a potentially dangerous and volatile situation,” Wheeler said in a CNN interview. “Adding to that noise doesn’t do anything to support or help the efforts that are going on here in Portland.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) does not label Antifa as a designated hate group but it does label Proud Boys as one.
The racist, white nationalist group was founded in 2016 in New York City by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. The self-described “western chauvinists” deny connection to the alt-right, but they have led and participated in other extremist rallies, including the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The SPLC did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment in the latest clash between the far-right and Antifa.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.