PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer Joey Gibson pleaded not guilty to felony riot charges on Tuesday.
Before his court appearance, he held a “peaceful prayer march” beforehand.
The 35-year-old faces the charge stemming from a May Day brawl at a Northeast Portland bar called Cider Riot. He was booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center on $5,000 bail, posted bail a few hours later and was released.
He told KOIN 6 News he believes the felony riot charge is politically motivated and an attempt by the city of Portland to ban him from the streets.
The maximum sentence for conviction on felony riot — a Class C felony — is 5 years in prison.
Cider Riot brawl
Videos showed people at Cider Riot using chemical spray and several other people fighting during the May Day brawl.
Gibson’s lawyer, James Buchal, told The Associated Press none of the videos from the incident show Gibson being violent.
Alyssa Bang, the co-founder of Portland Liberation and an ally with Patriot Prayer, told KOIN 6 News the civil lawsuit filed by the owner of Cider Riot against Gibson “is not only frivolous, but also it’s not accurate. it doesn’t correctly reflect what happened at Cider Riot.”
Investigators continue to look into the brawl at Cider Riot.