The last year has seen a lot of strange political occurrences, but perhaps none more bizarre than the rise of Joey Gibson. Gibson runs a conservative Christian video podcast, which itself is unnotable. However, Gibson himself has become a central figure in a new organization of violent street fighters, who go by the hard-to-take-serious name “Warriors for Freedom” (WFF).
This group has come together from a number of sources. Some members are part of the Trump supporter milieu, others are part of a patriotic motorcycle gang. Some others are bigoted Christian preachers, at least one member was a cast-off from a militia group. And others seem to have no other affiliation besides enjoying fighting teenagers in the street.
This group is loosely organized, but its impact is serious. WFF claims no other ideology other than abstract U.S. “patriotism” and some sort of nominally Christian, militant “free speech.” The focus of the group is taking donations from the public so that the WFF street brawlers can travel all over the country, in their attempts to beat up protesters, film the carnage, and then use that as publicity to garner more funds. One can see this clearly from the group’s name, the propaganda they produce, their activities at the protests they attend, and the members own admissions on social media.
Joey Gibson’s own sappy brand of patriotic fervor could almost convince someone that he believes his own shill, crying endlessly in videos about how he is only for love, freedom, and god, and how hopelessly misunderstood his intentions are. And yet, if one takes a look at their promotional materials for their “free speech” rally, all one sees is violence and threats, directed at activists and at-risk communities. The Warriors for Freedom posture as fearsome street brawlers, who think death threats towards anti-racist activists are hilarious jokes.
Even more worrisome than their tired, macho attitude, is that while WFF claim little other political affiliation besides street violence, they are attracting the attention of even worse groups. White supremacists and fascists have been documented attending the Warriors for Freedom events, hoping to add their own racist violence to the Joey Gibson roadshow, and recruit followers to their more hardcore movements.
Just to take a single, obvious example, in an interview posted on youtube, Identity Europa organizer Jacob Von Ott (seen at Joey Gibson’s 4/29 rally) declares that it is his group’s specific strategy to attend far-right events like Gibson’s, and use that as a platform for recruiting. Anti-fascist activists will block Identity Europa from holding their own events, claims Von Ott. So instead, they hide in plain sight at right-wing “free speech” rallies.
It would be easy to let Joey Gibson and his followers’ foolishness convince you he is not a threat to the people of Portland. The group has already suffered one schism of their own making, when two members formed an LLC, copyrighting the group’s previous name (American Freedom Keepers), stealing the donations of the group, and threatening to sue their former friends. Then, a former cohort of the group named Ryan Allen Dhe, apparently irate due to a perceived insult from some of the WFF, began a concerted harassment campaign, threatening and insulting various members of WFF via online videos and phone calls.
Now, with the help of supporters in Pierce County, WA, Gibson and his followers have formed a new for-profit corporation called Warriors for Freedom LLC, for the likely purpose of handling cash donations. However, either oblivious or uncaring to the realities of business law, they named this legal entity despite the fact that there already exists a Warriors for Freedom Foundation (an organization which provides resources to military veterans) in Oklahoma, that has copyrighted that name. It remains to be seen whether the group will be forced to change names once more.
But while Gibson and his cohorts have little experience running a political organization, they make up for it with their dedication to street violence. They enjoy fitting themselves out in body armor and improvised weapons, bragging to the rest of the group about how they are going to beat in the heads of teenagers half their age. And even though when they have been confronted with a crowd that will actually fight back, they are not the tough guys they seem to be, that doesn’t stop the cash donations from loyal social media followers pouring in. Joey Gibson and company have found a way to make a business out of reactionary streetfighting, and as long as no one stands against them, it isn’t likely that they will stop themselves.
The next chapter in this tragic saga will occur in downtown Portland, on June 4th. In the name of “free speech” they have gathered together a program of speakers whose celebrity stems primarily from their own limited street fighting experience, such as Kyle Chapman and Pat Washington. They have invited an anti-semite, Tim Giomet, aka “Baked Alaska,” to speak. And white supremacists all over the west coast have taken notice, even now planning to attend to see if they too can win some followers by beating up some activists.
A Short History of Warriors for Freedom
March 4, 2017
Aside from small incursions into the post-election protests in Portland, and an appearance at January’s PDX airport demonstration against Trump’s racist immigration ban, Joey Gibson, a video blogger from Vancouver, WA also known as “Patriot Prayer,’ is first seen post-election at the Lake Oswego Rally for Trump, alongside other more militant groups like the Oregon III%. It is at this rally that a KKK member assaults protesters.
April 2, 2017
Gibson decides to throw his own event at a park in Vancouver, WA. He brings in armed III% members to do “security,” and also allows local bigots, the Hell Shaking Street Preachers, to harass passersby with homophobic and islamophobic hate speech. A number of known white supremacists are seen gathering at the event and recruiting. Gibson also invites a motorcycle gang from Tacoma, called American Freedom MC.
April 15, 2017
After the event, a number of members of American Freedom MC, Joey Gibson, and other unaffiliated patriots become close, and make plans to travel to other protests, hoping to capture footage of clashes between protesters. They go to Berkeley, CA on this date, and several of the group, including John Beavers and David Fry, are involved in fist fights with other activists. There, they also cultivate relationships with celebrity brawlers Kyle Chapman and Pat Washington.
April 29, 2017
After the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade is abruptly cancelled due to a single anonymous email, Joey Gibson stages a rally in Montavilla. Numerous white supremacists attend the rally, including, infamously, Jeremy Christian.
In still shots from a video shot on April 29, Identity Europa organizer Jacob Von Ott shakes hands with accused murder Jeremy Christian immediately after Christian has performed a series of sieg heil nazi salutes while at Joey Gibson’s “Free Speech” rally.
May 1, 2017
Joey Gibson gathers a big group together to travel to Seattle for May Day protests, hoping to get in fights with anti-capitalist and pro-immigration protesters.
May 7, 2017
Members of American Freedom Keepers travel to New Orleans to stand with white supremacists in opposition to removal of confederate war memorials. It is the details of the financing of this trip that precipitate the rift in the group.
May 13, 2017
Traveling to downtown Portland for the purpose intimidating activists, Warriors for Freedom member Tusitala “Tiny” Toese punches a man to the ground without provocation.
May 22, 2017
After Joey Gibson announces his rally for June 4, Portland decides that it will no longer tolerate anymore of Joey Gibson’s enabling of white supremacy. Rose City Antifa and a number of other allied groups call for a rally to stand in opposition to the fascism that Warriors for Freedom brings into the local community.
May 25, 2017
Warriors for Freedom fly to New York City to attend an anti-Sharia protest organized in part by Pamela Geller (one of the prominent ideological inspirations for neo-nazi Anders Breivik leading up to his 2011 massacre in Norway). At the protest, Warriors for Freedom member Jeremiah Dustin Harrington attacks a protester from behind, punches them to the ground, and is arrested by NYPD.
May 26, 2017
In a gruesome attack, two people are murdered and a third is wounded as they come to the defense of a woman wearing a hijab being harassed on a Portland MAX train. Accused of committing these acts is Jeremy Christian, a white supremacist who previously attended to Joey Gibson’s rally on 82nd Ave, armed with a bat, threatening to dispense violent “justice” to antifa.
A Look at the Individuals in Warriors for Freedom and Associated Groups
Joey Gibson - Vancouver, WA
While he claims to making a living by “flipping” houses in Vancouver, WA, most of Joey Gibson’s time seems to be occupied in running the Patriot Prayer video podcast (you really shouldn’t video blog while driving, Joey), and arranging for Trump Rallies all over Washington and Oregon (despite the fact that the election was over half a year ago). Gibson spends the cash he receives from his loyal followers by renting cars and buying airline tickets to fly all over the country, bringing his brute squad to wherever they think they will have an opportunity to beat up some protesters– including Berkeley, Seattle, Vancouver, New Orleans, and now Portland. He claims that his cause is peace and dialogue, and if you trust his confessional videos, he actually seems to have deluded himself into believing this. But, given that he supports and aids violent bigots like the Street Preachers, and literal White Supremacists attend and recruit in his rallies with impunity, his act is hard to believe. Now, for his rally in downtown Portland, the headlining speaker is Kyle “based stickman” Chapman, a media celebrity whose only claim to fame is hitting someone in the head with a stick. Gibson pled guilty the crime of felony theft when he was 18, but in 2015 he successfully petitioned to reinstate his right to possess firearms.
Leo Stratton - Portland, OR
While supposedly Leo Stratton works as a truck driver, he seems to have a large amount of time to run around the I-5 corridor, filming and harassing protesters. He uses Facebook to make violent threats against protesters, while he and his friends brag and encourage each other to beat and pepper spray them. This sort of video propaganda, through which the American Freedom Keepers can create their own narrative of the fights they start, or selectively give evidence to the police, is an important strategy for these sorts of post-Trump gangs.
David Fry - Lakewood, WA
David Fry is president of American Freedom MC. From what members of the group tell us, “The American Freedom Keepers” was the idea of Fry and John Beavers– thereby transforming Joey Gibson’s gang of violent thrill-seekers into an anti-protester posse. Fry and Beavers feud with Luciano and Marion was precipitated by the latter two stealing the name for their LLC. He brags about getting into fights in Berkeley on his Facebook, and initiates new recruits into the American Freedom MC, which serves as an inner cadre of fighters that travel around the country, prepared to battle American citizens. Fry has been arrested multiple times for “unlawful detainment.”
David Fry beats a protester in Berkeley, CA on April 15.
John Beavers - Belfair, WA
Owner of the Trump Truck (now being re-designed into a more general purpose “American Freedom” truck), and co-inventor of the American Freedom Keepers, along with David Fry. Beavers spends all of his money traveling around the country to go to events where he can hand out bumper stickers. He is nominally employed selling firewood, but most of his activities since late 2016 seem to revolve around Trump and so-called “Free Speech” rallies. After going to Berkeley on 4/15, he had his nose broken in the melee, and then used his Facebook page to threaten and doxx protesters who had nothing to do with his injury. Beavers has been arrested multiple times for Arson, Burglary, Malicious Mischief, Theft, and Assault, and he is a felon, thereby making it illegal for him to carry firearms.
Joseph Green - Eagle Point, OR
Joseph Green has been seen at a number of Joey Gibson’s events, in close contact with the American Freedom MC members, though he does not wear their cut.
Roger Lingle - Tacoma, WA
Also known as “Gramps,” Roger Lingle is a member of American Freedom MC, and one of the Warriors for Freedom brawlers, going with the group to an anti-Sharia protest in New York City on May 25. Lingle has quite the colorful history as well, previously doing prison time for burglary 1 and robbery 1. He also has been arrested for Assault/DV, and has had a number of people file domestic violence orders of protection against him. He is a felon, so it is illegal for him to carry firearms.
James Brown - Tacoma, WA
American Freedom MC Road Captain, who despite his straight job selling cars, seems to enjoy mimicking the motorcycle lifestyle and traveling to Vancouver and Seattle in order to threaten protesters with the rest of the group.
Francis Marion - Portland, OR
Co-owner of American Freedom Keepers LLC, with Jeremy Luciano. Apparently, a disagreement about who got to use the free airline tickets that the group was given caused most of the group to split off from Marion and Luciano, but the two are still raising money under the name “American Freedom Keepers LLC,” and have been collaborating with a national group called American Warrior Revolution. It is likely that Francis Marion may not be this individual’s real name.
Samatha Elizabeth Noble, John Beavers’ partner, explains the root of the disagreement between American Freedom Keepers LLC and Warriors for Freedom LLC.
Jeremy Luciano - Vancouver, WA
Co-Owner of American Freedom Keepers LLC, with Francis Marion. Luciano has traveled with Joey Gibson’s gang to Berkeley and Seattle for the purpose of brawling with protesters. Violent spectacles are not unknown to Luciano. In 2014, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct and bail jumping, stemming from an incident in which he flashed a pistol during a road rage incident, and then failed to show up for a court date. Despite his history of violence, Luciano also is employed by the Clark County Republican Party, as 49th LD Precinct Development Executive.
Michael Pena is one of the Portland Street Preachers, who have been known for screaming bigoted hate throughout Portland’s streets on megaphones. The group is anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and has shown up at a church in the Portland area to threaten immigrants. Joey Gibson has himself admitted that they make a lot of people uncomfortable at his rallies, and yet he continues to invite them to his events, including them in his publicity graphics, utilizing the white power symbol of a cross inside a circle.
Allen Wesley Pucket - Tillamook, OR
Allen Pucket is one of the Street Preachers, and perhaps the most prone to violence. He was videotaped kicking protesters in the head in Berkeley.
Quincy Lee Anatello - Portland, OR
Quincy Anatello, aka Quincy Franklin is one of the Street Preachers, known for shouting homophobic and anti-Muslim slurs during protests and other confrontational demonstrations.
Blake Sheely - Portland, OR
Blake Sheely is one of the Street Preachers.
Caleb Hanson - Keizer, OR
Caleb Hanson is also one of the Street Preachers.
Tusitala Toese - Vancouver, WA
Tusitala “Tiny” Toese is one of Joey Gibson’s gang. He often brags about hitting protesters, and was videotaped punching a protester in downtown Portland on May 13.
Kevin Rose - Vancouver, WA
Kevin Rose has been seen at a number of events with American Freedom Keepers, including the trip to New Orleans, and May Day in Seattle.
Tyler Smith - Sumner, WA
Tyler Smith is one of the Warriors for Freedom. He traveled to New York City with the group on May 25 to attend an anti-Sharia protest.
Kathryn Townsend - Gig Harbor, WA
In addition to traveling across state lines to attend Warriors for Freedom events, Kathryn Townsend is the listed governor of Warriors for Freedom LLC, as filed with the State of Washington.
Danny Rigdon, Jr. - Happy Valley, OR
Danny Rigdon was seen at the 4/29 rally, strutting around in front of protesters attempting to goad them into fighting.
Jeremiah Dustin Harrington
Jeremiah Dustin Harrington is one of Joey Gibson’s gang. Although he failed to join the Oregon III% militia movement, he is able to threaten protesters openly with this group. It seems that being part of the group is a major ego-boost for Harrington, and although he seems to mostly tag along with the more central members of the group, nothing excites him quite as much as fantasizing about punching activists. On May 25th, 2017, Jeremiah was able to realize one of these fantasies at the anti-Sharia protest in New York City. Video published by Joey Gibson clearly shows Jeremiah rushing at a counter-protester from behind, grabbing them, and throwing them to the ground, before immediately being arrested himself. In a video he published from within the precinct, Jeremiah claimed that the friendly cops told him they’d have simply looked the other way if their commanding officer hadn’t been standing right next to him as he attacked the young protester.
Harrington has also posted articles on his Facebook from the Daily Stormer, a well-known white supremacist website, that advocates genocide and “white sharia,” among other terrible ideologies.
These are some of the groups and individuals currently wreaking havoc on Portland by providing safe spaces for overt white supremacy and bigoted violence to persist and flourish within their rallies, organizing spaces, and memberships. Stand with us on June 4th, and tell them that we will not allow this sort of racism in our community!
To send us information about white supremacist activity, email us at [email protected].