The recent uproar in the media and activist community regarding the Portland Police Bureau’s communications with Joey Gibson did not take us by surprise, but only served to prove what has been known to many for some time. The City of Portland has attacked and injured anti-fascist activists, and done so at the behest of and in collusion with far-right groups.
An Incomplete Timeline of the City of Portland’s Collusion with Far-Right Violence
The Portland police provided free buses to transport white supremacists at the tax-payers expense on April 29, 2017.
On May 13, 2017 Joey Gibson assembled his supporters to harass and attack a leftist rally against police brutality at Chapman Square in downtown Portland. Gibson’s right-hand man Tusitala “Tiny” Toese was filmed flagrantly assaulting a leftist demonstrator with complete impunity in front of nearby police.
On June 4, 2017 the police attacked anti-fascists with explosives and chemical weapons in order to clear a safe retreat for white supremacists. Then, they kettled over 400 protesters and violated their civil rights, for which the city is being sued by the ACLU. Federal Police also collaborated with far-right militia members in making at least one arrest that day.
Before Joey Gibson’s September 10, 2017 hate rally, Portland police (and apparently also Vancouver, WA police) actively colluded with him to conceal from the public the fact that he was changing the rally’s location to Vancouver, WA. This event, which was attended by members of the neo-Nazi “PDX Stormers” organization, took place in the immediate aftermath of the deadly Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally (organized and attended by a number of Joey’s fellow alt-right activists) where neo-Nazi James Alex Fields murdered Heather Heyer.
On October 8, 2017, Patriot Prayer supporter and defender of Jeremy Christian, Jay Bishop, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as possessing a firearm on federal property during a Patriot Prayer event at Terry Schrunk Plaza. Gibson gave a week’s advance notice to the police about this event, but did not announce it publicly. The police kept Gibson’s planned rally a secret from the community. Bishop’s case was handed from the Feds to Multnomah County, but he was never prosecuted.
On December 23, 2017, at Patriot Prayer’s “March for Jesus” a police officer texted Joey Gibson telling him that a group of “4 or 5” counter-protesters was approaching them. Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys members Tiny Toese, Donovan Flippo, Travis Nugent, Carl D Todd, Justin Sheets, Nate Millsap, and Joseph Jay Harrison then chased these protesters into traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge, causing one of them to be hit by a car. Patriot Prayer members can be heard cheering when the person is hit in their own footage of the accident.
On numerous occasions throughout late 2017 and early 2018, Tiny Toese had warrants out for his arrest, and was allowed to attack activists in downtown Portland without being arrested, while being warned of the risk of arrest by police officers.
On July 20, 2018, far-right livestreamer and Patriot Prayer supporter Chris Ponte punched an activist in front of police at the Occupy ICE protest, unprovoked. Later, A Portland Police officer gave Ponte a friendly heads-up that he had been indicated by witnesses as the perpetrator of the assault. Ponte was never arrested for the assault. Later, the same officer texted Gibson telling him that he hoped another event would be “like the ICE Protest visit you guys did.”
On August 4, 2018, in an assault which was deemed to be entirely unprovoked by any media agency who researched it, the Portland Police attacked protesters with explosives, causing several serious burn injuries and fracturing the skull of one person. After breaking up the anti-fascist lines, the Police then allowed the far-right groups to cross Naito Parkway into downtown Portland, where they hunted for protesters to assault.
After the city was swept with outrage for the August 4, 2018 assault, Chief Danielle Outlaw took to a right-wing radio program to mock protesters, saying “I kicked your butt,” calling outrage at the unprovoked injuries whining and complaining.
Only months later was it actually revealed that on August 4, 2018 the Police found white nationalists in sniper positions over protesters with high-powered rifles, and let them go.
At the city’s listening session last night, a large number of unmarked police vehicles materialized out of the night to give an armed escort to white supremacists, who invaded the meeting, threatening and shouting over the people who had assembled to speak.
At this very listening session, Outlaw was quoted as saying, “I want to be able to show that we’re about what we say.” Any person who has stepped up to defend their city against white supremacists over the last two years has seen what the city is about, and has heard what its leaders have said. They are about injuring anti-fascists, excusing police and far-right violence, and putting at-risk populations in harm’s way.
Listed above are only a select number of the instances in which the city collaborated and supported Patriot Prayer and other far-right groups in Portland. Any statements released by the city claiming to condemn white supremacy are empty gestures and performance, just like this listening session. The city cannot blame this on the police, and the police cannot blame this on the city, and neither can blame this on the far-right. The entities are becoming one and the same. The city employs bigots such as Quincy Franklin and Gregrory Isaacson, and protects them with the police.
Quincy Franklin, currently employed by the Water Bureau, came to threaten LGBT community members at Portland Pride, telling them they deserved to be killed. He has said that Muslims should be murdered, and some women deserve to be raped. At Portland Pride in 2017, Joey Gibson acted as “security” for Franklin and his fellow bigots (including violent white nationalist Allen Pucket) as they attacked people at the trans march. Lt. Jeff Niiya, in his texts to Gibson, hoped that more of his events would go down like Pride.
There are simply too many interactions, too many communications, too many incidents of collusion to point the finger at any one action by the city, the police, or the far-right. The only way to fully understand the connection between these different entities and the damage they are doing to this city, is to have lived through the fight against this creeping threat. To have stood on the front lines against the police and white supremacists, to see our comrades’ blood spilt, and to hear the insults, threats, and blame levied at us from the city, the police, and the fascists: this is to know the nature of the fight we are fighting.
To be anti-fascist is to nevertheless know that the only thing that will work to defend our community and loved ones is to tell all of these forces and more, that we will not relent, we will not give in, and we will not rest until our community is safe from your oppression, hate, and violence.
RCA has not, does not, and will not communicate with the Portland Police Bureau in any venue or form, and we encourage any other activist group who is serious about fighting fascism to do the same. We will not take part in any performances meant to distract attention away from the harm the city has caused by supporting the far-right and attacking anti-fascists.
Patriot Prayer has said Portland’s “streets will be cleansed” of liberals and leftists, members of the LGBT, Muslim, and immigrant communities, and any activist who stands up to this violent onslaught. Patriot Prayer has sold T-shirts with a graphic threatening to murder Rose City Antifa members. Followers of Patriot Prayer have, in fact, murdered four people in the Pacific Northwest thus far. The city, via their assistance of Patriot Prayer, and with their batons and explosive grenades, have shown that they are in support of this extra-judicial murder. Patriot Prayer has expressed open support of the violent dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, whose police forces murdered thousands upon thousands of Chilean citizens. The city, through action and inaction, have expressed the role that they are willing to play to Joey Gibson’s own demagoguery.
The people, by showing up again to make clear to Gibson and the city that they are not intimidated by these threats, will be the only measure capable of preventing such a fate from finding us in our current chapter of history.