PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Joey Gibson, the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, vowed to fight a felony riot charge in his first Multnomah County court appearance Monday morning.
The 35-year-old faces the charge stemming from a May Day brawl at a Northeast Portland bar called Cider Riot. Last Friday he was booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center on $5,000 bail, posted bail a few hours later and was released.
Gibson asked the judge for an 2-week extension in the case because he wants to get an attorney to represent him. He is expected back in court on August 27.
Previously 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.
Felony Riot in Oregon:
ORS 166.015 Riot “A person commits the crime of riot if while participating with five or more other persons the person engages in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly creates a grave risk of causing public alarm.”
The maximum sentence for conviction on felony riot — a Class C felony — is 5 years in prison.
About a dozen supporters gathered outside the Multnomah County Justice Center while Gibson made his very brief appearance in front of the judge.
After court, Gibson told KOIN 6 News he would not take a plea deal and promised to go to trial, if necessary.
“If they can come after me, then they can come after you, that’s what people need to understand,” Gibson said.
“If they want to continue to press these charges on me, I’ll take this case to the very end. I’m not going to plead guilty to one thing because I didn’t break the law.”
Gibson appeared in court 2 days after the downtown Portland protests he and Patriot Prayer attended and 3 days after he turned himself in to face the felony charge.
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.
Not his first run-in with the law
This is not Joey Gibson’s first run-in with the criminal court system. Court records show he was convicted in 2002 in Clark County of 2nd-degree theft. He spent 3 years on probation.
Court records also show he went to court in 2015 and successfully convinced a judge to give him his gun ownership rights back.