All indications were that antifascists already won before the day even started.
Richard, a beloved Portland local who shows up to nearly every damn protest, sat down next to me. I asked him how he’s been and he sat down on the bench next to me and started explaining, out of the blue, something I think is called a ‘short rush game’ in American football. The idea, if I’m remembering it right, is you make a bunch of short, quick pushes forward in the first one or two quarters to exhaust the other team and then really go for it in the last half of the game while they’re worn out.
“Sort of like Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy right?” I asked Richard.
“Yeah,” he said, before getting up to join a bunch of others yelling at some passerby to stop taking pictures of the 300 or so kids decked out in black bloc.
It was all downhill from there.
So what was the excuse for the fascists to come to Portland this time? There were a few things.
The main reason for specifically doing violence on the 22nd was the one-year anniversary of a bloody brawl in Portland where, among other things, Proud Boy Travis Taylor broke Bellingcat journalist Robert Evans’s hand and Proud Boy Alan Swinney brandished a revolver at people. That day ended up humiliating for the fascists because they were evenly matched and chased out. The fascists kind of do this every year around the same time in Portland.
The event was also around the one-year anniversary of Patriot Prayer supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson’s shooting. Danielson was an often armed and often belligerent member of the local fascist street fighting crew who was shot and killed by a leftist called Michael Reinoehl. Reinoehl was later shot to death by U.S. Marshalls after Trump called for his extrajudicial murder. Both men became martyrs for parts of their respective movements.
The month or so preceding the 22nd saw a slew of fascist rallies around the Pacific Northwest including one at the Waterfront Park by COVID-spreading cult leader Sean Feucht. At that event, local fascists showed up to play security guard and a man with an airsoft gun made up like a real rifle walked around downtown menacing people for 20 minutes. LCRW covered this and some of the other violence during the month here.
One last notable reason for the fascists to come to town was Ashli Babbitt, the QAnon-believing capitol rioter who was shot to death by a cop during the insurrectionary violence of January 6th. The Trump base, who largely see Babbitt as a martyr, were freshly enraged because her killer had been recently cleared of wrongdoing in an internal probe. The Proud Boys had a pie eating contest to honor her the night before the rally in Sandy, Oregon.
The rally was organized initially by Audra Price, a local neoNazi who was a leader in a group called ‘COPS NW.’ She called the rally “United We Win” and gave the time and place as 2pm at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
“The cleansing will begin Aug 22. Time to finish what was started so long ago. Inside of every libtard in Portland there is a Patriot begging to get out,” David Willis, a local street brawler who claims to be a former East Side White Pride member replied to Price’s Facebook post.
“to [sic] bad self sefense is illegal for Patriots. Bullets are better than paint balls,” Matthew Wall replied below Willis’s comment. Paintball guns and regular guns have become regular fixtures at these events.
Like Patriot Prayer, ‘COPS NW’ is a loose collection of Pacific Northwest fascists who throw hate rallies and target marginalized people for violence and harassment. Price’s current boyfriend is neo-Nazi Eric Oelkers, who stans Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph. Another COPS NW member, Tim Ryerson, was arrested on pedophilia charges after violating a five year old.
Pretty quickly, antifascists recognized this would be a major incursion into the city and talks about mobilizing a counter-protest began. As it became clear that antifascists would show up in numbers, the fascists began backpedaling and rebranding their event. They replaced the menacing monotone grey and red “United We Win” flyer with faux-hippie imagery and renamed the event “Summer of Love.”
The city’s response to this very predictable plan for violence was effectively to do nothing. Mayor Ted Wheeler held a press conference where he begged people to “choose love” and Portland Police Bureau’s Chief Chuck Lovell said his force had no plans to intervene in the violence.
“You should not expect to see police officers standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart. People can and should keep themselves apart and choose to avoid violent physical confrontations,” Lovell said.
On the Friday before the rally, Haley Adams, leader of a sub-group of Patriot Prayer-affiliated street fighters that used to go by ‘PDX Crew’, announced that the venue was changed and would be announced Sunday morning. Adams claimed they weren’t going downtown to the Waterfront Park anymore because the police wouldn’t provide them with protection. Her announcement was shared by embattled Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio on his Telegram channel.
Adams and Audra Price had been feuding before the start of the rally and people speculated that Price and the street brawlers loyal to her might still show up downtown while Adams was off with a small group elsewhere doing some pathetic flag-wave. The consensus among antiracist counter-protestors before the fascists announced their new location was to stay put at the Waterfront Park as originally planned.
THE DAY OF
It seemed like it was going to be mostly just a nice day in the park. My colleague Shane Burley kept telling me “I think folks should just call it a win. They were too scared to show up downtown.”
While we were talking to a bunch of other reporters, some old fart on his bicycle came up behind us and shouted “Why do you have a mask on? What are you hiding?” I couldn’t help myself. After hearing the same exact line dozens and dozens of times over the last four years or so I just doubled over in laughter. The old fart started trembling with what I assume was both rage and fear and kept shouting at me and then gave up after it was clear I was ignoring him.
It was the usual scene at one of these events in Portland: A bunch of kids in bloc, some tables with snacks and water. Some of them were ready for if things got bad. I saw paintball guns, bats, clubs, and a couple of the kind of rifles that make Californians like me especially jealous. I should emphasize that less than ten percent of the people I saw were even armed to this degree and I only saw maybe two or three guns in total.
LEFT COAST RIGHT WATCH @LCRWnewsI talked to beloved local comedian Dustin Brandon about today (@2LessLegs)
8:21 PM • August 22, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
I ran into Dustin Brandon, a local comedian who goes by 2lessLegs who’s been attacked multiple times by the local fascists. I’d recently seen Eric Oelkers put out a photo of him with a target over it on Twitter. Brandon told me this was just one of many images Oelkers made of him. Oelkers called the images ‘99 Ways to Kill Dustin.’ Brandon said Oelkers took some of the images and turned them into stickers to put up around his neighborhood.
“It’s been a year of thousands of hate crime messages that I received. It’s been a year of them calling in bomb threats to my apartment. I’ve been put in the hospital seven times because of Proud Boys,” Brandon told me.
“It is serious when you have a Nazi singling you out for a hate crime because when there’s one Nazi, there’s other Nazis,” he said.
There’s a pattern to a lot of these events when the fascists don’t show up. Some cranky right wing boomer or a posh-looking yuppie or unwitting tourist will show up and start giggling and filming the crowd with a shit-eating grin on their faces. I politely told a bougie couple with no masks on “Oh, they don’t like when you film them. You should be careful,” and they stopped.
A little later, some street preachers of the ‘God hates f-slurs’ variety started off pretty close to the crowd and ended up chased down a couple blocks by some Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. I caught up in time to see a bunch of the SHARPs puffing out their chests and thirty press photographers taking a bunch of photos as if there wouldn’t be any other action that day. I’m pretty sure everyone got what they wanted out of that confrontation. The street preachers started talking about how they were ready to die for their beliefs and the SHARPs got to stand around shouting looking tough and the press got a spectacle. I didn’t spend much time on it because it left a bad taste in my mouth. I kind of thought Shane was right–people should just party for a bit and go home. But everyone was tense and amped up for a fight.
I watched about half a dozen people in bloc bark orders not to take pictures. Some of them were so amped up they chased out a guy who was asking people for signatures to recall Ted Wheeler as if people voluntarily giving signatures for a political campaign was some big security threat. I saw another kid chase off some tourists on bikes who stopped across the street to take a wide shot of the crowd. He smirked and told his friends on the way back “I scared the shit out of them.” Robert Evans talked on his ‘It Could Happen Here’ podcast about how some other person sprayed bear mace on some chud in a gruntstyle shirt who was just arguing with people. I didn’t see it happen but the kids walking back from the incident had so much mace on them even I started coughing a little.
There were 400 people there but they were mostly in bloc. If no pictures come out that 400 people showed up to say no to violent fascists, you’re ceding the propaganda part of the fight. I don’t say this lightly and I’m not trying to dismiss bloc, but it’s a pattern I’ve noticed over and over and I think sooner or later folks will have to acknowledge the tactic has limitations. Again, I’m trying to say this from a place of love. People put their bodies on the line using this tactic and I’ve been defended by folks in bloc more than once and I’m sure they will help keep me safe again. But even if nothing else happened that day, something felt wrong.
TWO ACCOUNTS OF WHAT HAPPENED IN PARKROSE
LEFT COAST RIGHT WATCH @LCRWnewsThese losers made shirts lol
9:41 PM • August 22, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
Some kids in bloc came up to me at one point just before 2pm when the Proud Boys were supposed to start their rally. They asked what was going on in the abandoned K-Mart parking lot in the Parkrose neighborhood the Proud Boys had set up their event in. The right-winger stream I’d saved the link to hadn’t quite started yet and when it did a few minutes later, it looked like not many people had shown up. Audra Price never ended up getting her own little gaggle of fascists together to do her own thing. She just tagged along with the Proud Boys. I still can’t believe they got those stupid shirts for the rally.
I didn’t end up going to Parkrose. I felt guilty about it, but I would’ve had to go alone. Too big a risk. So instead, I reached out and got a few accounts from people who were there. Two of them were from women who had to leave before the big brawl really started because the Proud Boys and their associates kept surrounding and intimidating them. They wrote detailed accounts of what they saw, which I’ll include in full. One of them also took photos, which I’ll include.
Before I talk about what happened in Parkrose, I should say something about the neighborhood, or rather, I should let one of the residents of the neighborhood who confronted and was attacked by the Proud Boys that day talk about it.
“People in Parkrose often describe it as a small town in a big city,” a local mother who asked I only identify her as ‘Parkrose Mom’ said. The school district is very small—four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school. Parkrose Mom told me kids often go to the same school with the same people their entire time at K-12. Parkrose High School is the most diverse school in Oregon with 24 languages spoken by its students. The neighborhood’s school board adopted a pro-BLM resolution last year.
“On the day of the Proud Boys rally, there was a Quinceñera taking place a block away at Rossi Farms and Muslim families gathering for an event at the Rusellville Grange Hall a block in another direction. The chosen location for this PB event felt like a slap in the face to our entire community and, honestly, not coincidental,” Parkrose Mom told me.
“When I decided to show up at the event, it was to stand not only in opposition to the Proud Boys, but also in solidarity with Parkrose families,” she added.
And here’s what ‘Parkrose Mom’ told me happened when she did just that:
I got there at about 2pm and the Proud Boy stage/flag/statue of liberty were already set up and there were less than 100 people there. From what I could see, it appeared that everyone in the parking lot was Proud Boy-affiliated. Many had tactical gear, face coverings, vests, airsoft/paint guns, clubs, baseball bats. The only counter protesters I saw were 3 women who were standing on 122nd Ave above the parking lot holding signs. I went down into the parking lot, assuming I would be ok just hanging back on the edge and observing, but quickly realized that didn't feel safe. My BLM shirt made me stick out like a sore thumb and I was getting a lot of looks from a lot of menacing folks. So I immediately left and joined the counter protesters.
There were a few folks from the event that walked past us but only one woman engaged (calling us antifa, baby killers, Ted Wheeler minions, etc). Around 3:30 things started heating up. Some journalists came over to where we were and started asking us questions about what brought us out that day. At the same time, the PB crew started surrounding a Jeep that was parked at the edge of the lot. There was a local reverend in the car who was observing and occasionally recording himself talking about what was happening at the event. More folks started to surround his car, getting closer, calling him a faggot.
Right after that, I think some of those PBs recognized some of the journalists that were up talking to us and they came up and surrounded us, some of them shoving their own cameras and mics in our faces, trying to bait us into arguments about antifa. A truck pulled in and blocked one of the lanes of NE 122nd (a pretty busy 4 lane street) and asked if we were ok. From there more folks spilled out of the parking lot and into the road. I felt very unsafe, so I squeezed out of the group and just started walking home (getting taunted along the way the PB lining the street calling out my sweatshirt). I went across the street, cut through Parkrose High school and took off my sweatshirt/mask/glasses so I wouldn’t be as noticeable. I just walked home as fast as I could. I didn’t observe anything after this point, but from what I understand the altercations started very shortly after this.
Lauren Hudgins, another local, came with a camera.
The Proud Boys and associated sympathizers flocked to an abandoned Kmart parking lot in outer Northeast Portland on an August Sunday afternoon. Their mobile stage had an American flag print backdrop, pulled by a yellow pickup with a metal rooster statue, paintball gun, and White Claw resting on the hood.
My head count at 2:40pm was 100 chuds (Ed. Note: ‘chud’ is a term for fascist.). For an event billed as the “Summer of Love,” attendees had a lot of weapons: batons, axe handles, baseball bats, pepper spray/mace, what I believe were tasers in holsters, tactical gloves for punching people better, knives, paintball guns, and real handguns.
Now that Trump is no longer president, the Proud Boys didn’t know what they stood for so much as what they were against. That they hated liberals, antifa, and Democrats, and their t-shirts and bumper stickers said as much.
I think it’s important to clarify that I came as a photographer, not as a photojournalist associated with any publication, and told people if they asked. A woman on stage complained about antifa taking photos and jeered at the press, revealing how afraid they were of people seeing what they were doing when they didn’t have complete control of the narrative. Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, got on the stage to vent his indignation that the NYT never calls him to get his story. The following day he would be sentenced to five months in prison for tearing down the BLM flag of a historically Black church before the January 6 insurrection.
I was regularly cussed at, told to leave, and threatened with violence. When I took a photo of one woman who deliberately stood in front of me to block the view, a man came up and asked me, “Are you going to masturbate to that photo? Are you going to play with yourself to that photo?”
Around 3:20pm a woman saw me taking reference photos of vehicles and began screaming at me and her friends to do something about me. The rally was winding down and the audience was getting pumped up for confrontation and I began planning my exit as I got a few more shots. A man pointed at my camera and said, “I take that as a threat!” and came running at me, blocking my way back towards the main road, while others began to surround me from other angles. He pushed me and then pushed me again, grabbing at my camera. “Give me that camera!” he screamed.
A pickup truck drove up with a white man wearing nondescript clothing. “I just saw you assault that woman twice. You need to leave her alone,” he said calmly but firmly.
Without invitation, I jumped in the back of his truck and this stranger whisked me away while the chuds kicked and struck the truck.
“I’m called Irish,” he said. “I’m a medic.”
Once he determined I was safe, he went back to patrolling. I found the area where black bloc was waiting for news and felt protected. They calmed me down and gave me water. When I heard on the radio that the Proud Boys were leaving the parking lot, I left down quiet neighborhood roads, afraid that they might find me on the main ones.
“I was more shaken up than I expected. In the moment I thought I was calm but after that medic took me out I was unsteady with adrenaline. I do believe that if he hadn’t helped me escape someone would have hurt me,” Hudgins told me after.
“How did I feel in general is harder,” she said. Here’s how she summed up her feelings about the day:
You don't show up with that many weapons and beers unless you are psyching yourself up for a fight. The city's milquetoast “choose love” attitude is the kind of both sides-ism that makes things worse. \[The city\] wants everyone to choose inaction when a group of people are intent on harm. The Proud Boys have demonstrated that it does not matter if no one confronts them where they are, they will caravan elsewhere to find people to hurt where people can see them doing it (usually means heading downtown).
Fascists do indeed just get hyped up and find people to hurt. There were reports of them driving around Portland firing paintball and BB guns at unhoused encampments all month. This was a main reason why a lot of people didn’t want to leave downtown undefended. But the violence in Parkrose was far from over.
THE PERSON IN THE VAN
From what I heard, there were about 50 Proud Boys and others who engaged in the brawl with less than 30 on the ground antifascists. I don’t have time to piece through everything and make a coherent timeline. Instead I’ll try to give you the gist of what happened.
Antifascists I spoke to estimated that of about 50-60 Proud Boys, half were from out of state. Some of them came from as far as New York. There were, unfortunately, a contingent from Southern California including John Turano, who was wearing his “Cucked Spartan” armor that day. The person in charge that day seemed to be Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, an infamously violent Proud Boy who just had some hardcore holocaust denial videos leaked from his Telegram.
One incident right-wingers and people like Matt Taibbi started fuming over was Marianne Staab, a local freelance journalist that often works with Ford Fischer’s News2Share and has a bad reputation with the local activist scene for filming people without their consent. Someone in bloc comes up to yell at her in one of Fischer’s videos and calls her a “little slut.” I was disgusted by it, but what a lot of reports about the attack on Staab downplayed was that the Proud Boys maced her as well and shot paintballs at journalists in general.
Nathan Howard @SmileItsNathan
A Proud Boy beats an anti-fascist counter protester after swarming his truck truck on August 22, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Proud Boys and other far-right extremists fought with anti-fascist activists in Portland on the anniversary of a similar fight in 2020.
4:05 AM • August 23, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
The Proud Boys tried to jump two people in their vehicles. One was a man in a truck who LCRW didn’t speak to and another was a person in a van we did talk to. There was a lot of criticism of the press who stood by and filmed or took photos while the Proud Boys tried to drag him out of his truck after the fact. Speaking as a journalist, press are supposed to stay out of conflicts and observe generally, but you, like any other person, have a duty to intervene if you’re able to. I wasn’t there, so I don’t feel right commenting on it further than that.
New Kid in the Bloc @riotcrotchNo Surprise… but Video showing PB starting Violence and causing a driver to crash their vehicle which is trying to back up
5:19 PM • August 23, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
The second person the Proud Boys attacked was driving a van that was later turned on its side and spray-painted with “F.A.F.O.”—fuck around and find out. Fascist propagandist Andy Ngo claimed the van was being used in a vehicular attack and therefore it was fair game for the Proud Boys. This was, of course, a lie as the above video show. Because the driver of that van is at great risk of further harassment and possibly worse, I’ve used an alias they chose for this article: “Vandy.” Vandy gave LCRW a harrowing account of what happened, which we’ll print here in full:
I went to Parkrose because I knew there was black bloc going and I knew it was a smaller group than was safe, and I wasn’t aware of any support vehicles going. My van had been stocked with Gatorade, water, granola bars, as well as eye wipes/wash and was otherwise cleared out so that I could fit as many people as possible if they needed to be evacuated from danger. I traveled to Parkrose alone, and when the group decided to head to the Kmart, I followed behind on the road. When the group had gotten a little more than halfway there, I spotted a small group of bloc already on the corner of the entrance to the parking lot. As I pulled into just the entrance of the lot, and then stopped, I saw a crowd of people—wearing various levels of plates and gear, some carrying paintball or pellet guns and sticks or bats— were advancing up the hill out of the parking lot and towards the entrance where I had just stopped.
With no provocation the one with the AR style paintball gun began shooting at the small crowd standing on the other side of my van. The paintball guy was to my left and ahead of me shooting across in front of the van. I took my foot partially off the brake and moved the van 10-15ft forward to obstruct his shots.
Paintball guy instantly focused his attention on me and we made eye contact and I remembered in that moment that I didn’t lock my doors. The front two doors can only be locked from the outside by the key and I has forgotten to do it. He reached for the door and I grabbed the inside handle and held as hard as I could but he yanked it open a gap. I was braced with one foot on the brake pedal and pulling back on the door but as soon as the gap opened he stuck his paintball gun in and started shooting. When I heard the shots go off I grabbed my mace can and began spraying out the door with my free hand. Mace was being sprayed in at me as well and I’d had my goggles up on my head because they were fogging when I was driving. The passenger door opened and I saw a large figure in a yellow hoodie and black vest starting to come into the van. The group around the van was increasing and the mace was hitting me as well as nonstop paintball shots and the door being pulled. I was wearing pads which protected me from some of the shots but my left side got lit up and my right side took a shot when I ran. He just never stopped shooting at me.
I decided to run because it felt obvious that they wanted to drag me out of the van, especially with someone coming in the passenger side door. I didn’t know how close comrades were or how long I would last so I ran. I ran out the passenger door and through/over yellow hoodie guy who tried to grab me. As soon as I got my feet on the sidewalk I ran as hard as I could for the bloc.
My first fear as I ran was knowing the van had been in gear and running when I left. It was a choice I made because I had no time and no other options other than what seemed like immediate and increasing levels of harm.
At every point during their attack I chose to not drive forward or away because there were so many people around it. I made zero aggressive moves and the one defensive move I made evokes an immediate swarm of force against me.
Once I got away from the van comrades got me to safety but I won’t say more about that part.
“I honestly think it will be a week at least, and some as-yet-to-have-happened conversations before I have an accurate sense of this. Right now I’m numb a lot until big cracks suddenly open up and then they shut again. I go from sleep to wide awake and exhausted and I only dream about Sunday or the things I’m afraid could happen as a result,” Vandy told LCRW about the aftermath of their assault.
“I’m not naive about their violence or their hatred, but I was still a little shocked how quickly they went from simply having their shots blocked by my van to a full force attack on me and the vehicle. There was just no hesitation on any of their parts and when I look back, every single second feels like if I had done anything different or hesitated at all that I might not be here today,” they concluded.
Those who want to contribute to helping Vandy recover can do so through a Cashapp funding drive set up for them at $GenialAnarchist.
THE MOVE OUT
Back at the Waterfront Park, I was sitting around anxious waiting and watching the livestreams on a friend’s phone while I uploaded clips of myself talking to Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project on mine. Jenkins played up the way the event had ceded the Waterfront Park to antifascists when he talked to me.
“Let’s be fair, the day isn’t over. They still haven’t finished their little party at the K-Mart. When they’re done over there, they’re going to come over here and yell at us, scream at us, throw paintballs at us, whatever. But the truth of the matter is, the fact is they’re not here—and that fact alone is a testament to everybody out here.” Jenkins said.
Jenkins didn’t seem happy when I said that I’ve seen rallies across the West Coast continue to escalate and groups like the Proud Boys gain recruits after the Capitol Riot in January.
“I feel like the movement’s growing,” I said.
“Well, no, I think they’re going to be dead in the water soon. They’re dead in the water, they just don’t realize it yet. It’s kind of like a ‘hail mary’ moment. Doesn’t mean you sleep on them. The only reason why—you said yourself that you see the rallies stepping up, but you don’t see them being covered as much—that’s due to us. A year ago they were in this spot. The last time I was here—August 4th, 2018, they were here. So when you see people not paying as much attention to them as you did—that’s due to us. But the fact that they’re still holding rallies says that we still gotta maintain that vigilance,” Jenkins said.
LEFT COAST RIGHT WATCH @LCRWnewsWell, some of them went to Esther Short. I spotted Skyler Jernigan who shot into a crowd with a handgun one time. You can sorta see some of them huddled between a couple trucks in a few frames
12:40 AM • August 23, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
Jenkins’ reassurances didn’t really do much for me. Around 4:30 I was sitting around while people got on the mic and made cases for and against going to Parkrose. Tiny said on a livestream that they were headed to Esther Short Park in Vancouver to regroup. I decided to check it out. Lo and behold, I saw most of the regular fascists like Skyler Jernigan who fired a handgun into a crowd, David Willis and others along with the red truck Tiny was riding in. Me and a friend did a last ride through and drove back to downtown. As we were en route, I got word of the shooting.
Sean Beckner-Carmitchel @ACatWithNewsActive shooter in Downtown Portland.
12:55 AM • August 23, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
The gunfight started apparently after a man called Dennis G. Anderson got in a verbal altercation with some protesters. Some on the ground said he’d shouted an anti-black slur at a group of protesters. He was arraigned on unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm. He pled not guilty on Monday after paying $750 in bail.
Because I wasn’t there for the gunfight, I’m handing the narration over to Sean Carmitchel, a colleague of mine from L.A. who was on the ground and filmed it. The rest of this section was written by him.
Suddenly, word arrived that right wing demonstrators were beginning to file into vehicles. The barriers were reinforced with street signs found nearby. Many could be seen re-equipping gas masks, body armor and various gloves or weapons. Caltrops were strewn in several areas between the barricades and “lookout post.” Shields were grabbed. Every single vehicle that passed by the lookouts seemed to be heavily scrutinized. I placed my gas mask on, as well as helmeting. I began to make a point to walk amongst the lookout posts, thinking that one of those areas was likely to be the most important place to be. I made a mental note not to step on the caltrops while wearing the vision-restricting gasmask.
While walking towards one of the lookouts, I witnessed a group of Black Bloc protestors begin running and shouting on the North end of the barricades. Once arriving and fumbling with my equipment, scrambling to turn it on during what appeared to be a very intense moment. One man holding a firearm in his hands with a smile and his arms in a “t-pose,” on Taylor Street. I could hear him yelling what I now know to be the words “attention!” Two people with fire arms at the ready, one of whom was yelling “walk!” moved towards the man. Realizing that I was very much uncovered, I moved immediately to crouching behind a blue Mitsubishi Mirage and put my hands up. It was at that point that I noticed that the man with a tan hat, purple bandanna around his neck, wraparound sunglasses and a firearm had taken cover behind a building on Taylor Street across from the Portland World Trade Center Building and had it very briefly fixed directly on me. I crouched and began attempting to slow my breathing.
As the man with the firearm and tan hat began walking away, I noticed that one person in all black had a slingshot and trained it on the man. I overheard one man say “he pointed it right at my face.” A group of people dressed in mostly black followed the man from a distance, some with firearms. Many began to follow one half block away, taking cover whenever he turned around. Deciding that whatever happens, it would probably be important to document I began following as well.
For several blocks, the man walked throughout the city of Portland with a fire arm. He passed the Portland World Trade Center Building, where the man began turning to face the several people still following him with fire arms. He made his way to 2nd and Taylor, and I watched the several people continuing to yell “get out!” take additional cover behind vehicles, the World Trade Center Building and various cityscape architecture once again.
Several people began redirecting traffic away from Taylor St. while the group continued to follow the man. As the tan-hatted man took a left at SW 2nd St. I began running behind cars, noticing where people were following him. Once the man arrived at the “Mod Pizza” location, he took several steps towards a group of people across from him then backed up and got behind a garbage can that read “Downtown Portland.” I placed myself behind the nearest vehicle as best I could. After that, I saw the man train his firearm on a photographer who was attempting to cross the street. One vehicle began honking and drove away.
I heard the tan hat man yell “you understand me?” I heard people yelling “Down! Down!” The man tightened his stance, pointing the fire arm across from the garbage can down Yamhill St. One shot fired from the tan hat man down Yamhill St. Several shots returned from the opposite direction on Yamhill; I could see debris come up from behind the man. As the man appeared to fumble with the fire arm, I heard someone down Yamhill. In the background, to the left of the tan hat man I could see someone running, appearing to be trying to find out what was going on. That person immediately ran back in the direction they came from.
As the tan hat man began to move further away from the riverfront, I saw one man who appeared to be shopping sprinting and had gotten several feet away from the initial location in front of Mod Pizza. I told him he should probably go a bit further. Several press members began attempting to look around the corner from the Mod pizza. The man began walking down the street once again.
It was somewhat difficult to locate him at one point, as he had taken his tan hat off. Several people who were dressed in all black (and, notably, one person dressed in what appeared to be a hitatare) continued to follow the man.
As the man continued walking for a few blocks, I heard sirens and watched several Portland Police Officers exit their vehicles. A person yelled “it’s him!” Several Portland Police (and one man who exited out of an unmarked black vehicle which was driving alongside the Portland Police) yelled “drop the gun,” while the man put his hands up. One officer had a Taser at the ready, the other what appeared to be a standard issue 9mm.
As the man went through the steps of being arrested (putting the gun down, putting hands at his sides, etc.) I continued filming. I remember noticing that the man’s hood was put back over his head by one of the arresting officers, and that I rarely see that. As the man was loaded into the police car, I finally was able to take off my bulky gasmask and helmet and rested for several minutes—appreciative that I had decided to hold onto one last cigarette just in case things had gotten intense. I then texted my partner and told her I was safe.
THE END OF THE DAY
LEFT COAST RIGHT WATCH @LCRWnewsWell the proud boy with the handgun got arrested. Here’s where one of the bullets went through
1:12 AM • August 23, 2021 (UTC)Open embedded tweet on Twitter
I arrived shortly after the shooting. There was a group of press gathered around a car with a couple of bullet holes—one bullet apparently still lodged in. Sean Carmitchel, who again wrote the previous section, was standing around nearby, cool but visibly shaken.
“Thank god I have one more cigarette,” he told me while lighting it up.
On the way over, I’d mistaken a photo of a Proud Boy brandishing a gun my friend had shown me earlier for what happened downtown and thought that’s who was shooting, so the above embedded tweet is incorrect. To my knowledge, Dennis G. Anderson isn’t a Proud Boy.
Robert Evans and his entourage made their way over to examine the bullet hole. I took a look at everyone crowding around it and said “Let’s all gather ‘round the ooooold bullet hole!” Everyone ignored me. I’d gotten my footage, so I left.
We hung around an intersection everyone had gathered around for no reason in particular about a block away from the Waterfront Park and the barricades. I saw people in bloc mill about and direct traffic in a kind of aggro way. I don’t blame them for being amped up. A gun battle just happened, after all.
Every once in a while in the hour that followed, me and everyone else would rush up the street not knowing why we were doing so only to find someone shouting at some road-raging driver. I heard people say but wasn’t able to confirm that a truck drove through and pepper sprayed people out the window. During one incident people shouted not to harass someone driving away because they were living out of their car. After an hour I decided to call it a day. As I was driving out I had to pass the intersection bloc was hanging out at. Some kids in bloc had just gotten in another fight with some driver and smashed some of their windows.
I didn’t hear about any more incidents of note on Sunday night. Oh, except for something that allegedly happened to fascist propagandist Andy Ngo. Supposedly he posted and then deleted a photo of a dildo on the ground saying that “antifa” hit him with it. He later claimed the tweet was fake, but given that he is a notorious liar, LCRW is unable to verify this claim from his word alone.
YOU’RE WONDERING NOW
People bitterly debated how the event had gone into the night and over the next few days. Some expounded on the logistics of getting enough people to counter the Proud Boys in Parkrose. They also claimed there were a few people eager to go who spread disinformation, claiming that there was going to be a massive call soon to head over to Parkrose. Others said people were brave but foolish for going over to confront the Proud Boys and if they hadn’t, the Proud Boys would have left their nothingburger event amped up and have to drive over to a well-defended Waterfront Park to try to get their fix of violence.
Still others said that of the 300-400 who showed up at the Waterfront Park, half could have gone to Parkrose and half could have stayed and covered both areas sufficiently. There’s an old saying from the Anti Racist Action days that reads, “we go where they go.”
“Defending the waterfront made absolutely no sense. The waterfront wasn’t under threat from fascists. Parkrose was, so that’s where we needed to be. We heard concerns that opposing the fascists would be “splitting the crowd”, but we knew that the only place where numbers mattered was where the fascists were, ”antifascsits who went to Parkrose wrote. They too acknowledged a lot of things could’ve been done better.
All in all, people were frustrated that a successful mobilization still ended with spectacular violence on undefended people from the Proud Boys
To sum up what happened, I think it’s useful to hear what Vandy, the victim of the Proud Boys’ second carjacking of the day, had to say:
I felt that the move to Parkrose was not planned or carried out well and was not a good move the way it was handled. I didn’t endorse the move, but as I was fairly certain there were no support vehicles going I also felt like it was important that I go to fill that role.
I think we had won a victory chasing the fash out of downtown simply by having our event. I think they looked like clowns having their shitshow circus in an abandoned parking lot. I think they would have likely gotten more belligerent and foolish as the day went out and would have left that parking lot on their own where we could have resisted them more effectively.
That said, I am so proud of my comrades for standing against fascists, regardless of my opinion on the strategy, and I’m more grateful than I know how to express for those who helped me and got me to safety. But I think there are lessons we need to learn from Sunday.
Abner Häuge (they/them) is a journalist and you can’t say they’re not because they got a Master’s from UC Berkeley’s Journalism School. After better journalist @desertborder texted them a hilarious screenshot of a Fox News segment, they spent all night memeing ‘ATTACK AND DETHRONE GOD’ and it became their catchphrase. You can usually find them in the bisexual aisle of the supermarket stocking up on Pocari Sweat for the boog.
SEAN BECKNER-CARMITCHELMore by SEAN BECKNER-CARMITCHEL
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