Police Investigate Assault on Livestreamer After Far-Right Proud Boys Descend on Portland

PORTLAND—After about 500 members of the right-wing Proud Boys gathered in Portland on Saturday, it didn’t take long for police to announce the first bout of violence: an assault on a man of color who was livestreaming the demonstration.

The attack was caught on video, which showed a man shoving the livestreamer down and kicking him in the face. It was not immediately clear what preceded the assault. Police took to Twitter to ask any witnesses to come forward.

The incident came after the Proud Boys, who organized the demonstration in Delta Park, repeatedly stoked fears about anti-fascist activists, commonly known as “antifa,” seeking to stir up trouble.

Rally participants directed most of their ire at independent journalists instead.

The livestreamer who came under attack was followed by rally attendees along with an independent photojournalist, Zachary Perry, as they attempted to leave the park, Perry told The Daily Beast. He identified the livestreamer only by his first name, Giovanni.

The rally goers “started bringing up a lot of typical anti-antifa talking points,” Perry said, “like ‘you guys are burning down the city.’”

A rally participant then punched Giovanni several times, according to Perry, before throwing him against a fence, kicking him in the head, and punching Perry twice. Videos posted to Twitter confirm most of this account.

Although neither journalist was seriously injured, the alleged assailant threw Giovanni’s phone over the fence, where it was recovered by rally attendees. According to Perry, the phone was unlocked at the time, and Giovanni, who was treated by medics onsite and is unavailable for comment in the wake of the assault, fears that this might enable retaliation from right-wing groups.

As Giovanni and Perry left the scene, another independent photojournalist covering the scene, Justin Katigbak, was assaulted by the same rally participant, Perry said.

The violence came after Proud Boys members repeatedly suggested they were somehow under siege by antifa.

One member of the Proud Boys, who did not identify himself publicly, interrupted the speakers to inform the crowd that “a group of livestreamers from antifa” was approaching the rally. “They are going to try to instigate,” he told the crowd. “Don’t touch them. Don’t fuck with them.”

But even as he shared this message, at least half of the crowd began moving in the direction of the park entrance, some carrying firearms, others equipped with paintball guns.

When the rumored anarchist broadcasters failed to appear, the crowd became distracted by a limousine emblazoned with the name of “American Wolf,” a regional far-right group, and a U-Haul in the parking lot. Protesters began handing out shields in preparation for a potential confrontation with leftist protesters.

A poster that made the rounds ahead of the rally urged people to “do it for Jay,” a reference to Aaron Jay Danielson, a supporter of the far-right group Patriot Prayer who was fatally shot in late August by a self-proclaimed anti-fascist. Police later shot the gunman, Michael Reinoehl, as they moved to arrest him.

A friend of Danielson’s, Chandler Pappas, took to the stage at Saturday’s rally and insisted, without evidence, that nearly a dozen people had been involved in Danielson’s killing. He went on to blame Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for Danielson’s death.

Recommended Posts