PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There was no shortage of stars and stripes, camo and Donald Trump flags when the Proud Boys held a rally a Delta Park on Saturday afternoon calling for an end to “domestic terrorism.”
Two other simultaneous rallies at Peninsula Park and at Vanport brought large crowds to hear speakers and act in solidarity for their stance against what they see as growing fascism in this country.
There were no large interactions between the groups, which were relatively close to each other but separated by a large police presence.
Law enforcement officials said 3 arrests were made at the protests, and another one at a Plaid Pantry.
Proud Boys rally
About 200 people, dozens of them wearing militarized body armor, gathered in Portland for a right-wing rally Saturday — far fewer than the thousands expected to show to support President Trump and his “law and order” reelection campaign as tensions boil over nationwide following the decision not to charge officers in Louisville, Kentucky, for killing Breonna Taylor.
A picture from above shows the actual crowd size is much smaller.
Dozens began to show up two hours before the rally that began at noon, some packed into the beds of pickup trucks. Many were wearing some sort of militarized body armor, including helmets and protective vests. Many flew American flags or black flags bearing the logo of the Three Percenters, another far-right group and some wore Make America Great Again hats.
Around 1 p.m., some Proud Boys unloaded “American Wolf” shields from a box truck. When asked what they were for he sarcastically said, “We’re going to play baseball.” A short time later, men with “American Wolf” shields, multiple paint guns were seen riding in the back of a pickup during the Proud Boys rally at Delta Park.
“I think where the line has to be drawn and there should be zero tolerance is when people commit acts of violence on other people because of their political views,” said Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys who lives in Miami. He traveled to Oregon for this because he feels “like Portland is the epicenter for all the issues we’re having across the country.”
Tarrio invited Chandler Pappas on stage at Delta Park to officially begin the Proud Boys rally. Pappas was with Aaron “Jay” Danielson when Danielson was shot and killed last month in downtown Portland. When he spoke, he claimed 11-12 people were involved in the killing of Danielson.
Carol Leek of Oregon Women for Trump told the crowd they had to fight against “Black supremacy,” adding, “This is a war folks, and we have got to fight back.”
There was a large police presence at Delta Park and officers even maintained a checkpoint at the entrance. OSP troopers stopped a car for failing to display a license plate or a temporary permit right outside Delta Park. The driver was cited for driving while suspended, no insurance, no ID and warned for failure to display a license plate. During other traffic stops, Portland police said they confiscated “firearms, paintball guns, baseball bats and shields.” Two people were criminally cited as well: “Phillip Klein, 18, of Sherwood, for Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public (city code), and Matthew Klein, 24, of Sherwood, for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public (city code).”
Violence broke out at the Proud Boys rally not long after it began as a man pushed a live streamer to the ground and kicked him in the face. Another media person was also pushed around. Portland police opened an assault investigation.
There were also verbal clashes between Proud Boys supporters and self-described antifa members who came to the park.
Things wound down at Delta Park around 2:30 p.m. The main organizer of the Proud Boys rally said they were leaving to have a barbecue outside of Portland because they didn’t want conflict.
Counter-protesters at Peninsula Park, Vanport
Much larger crowds gathered at Vanport and at Peninsula Park. The event at Vanport featured a number of speakers who talked a great deal about the history of Vanport as an historically Black location and a bold social experiment.
For nearly 3 hours at Peninsula Park the crowd listened to a variety of speakers urge people to continue to press for racial justice and equality.
A sign language interpreter was also there. “We know fascism is not inevitable, so keep fighting.” Demetria Hester, who has been very visible throughout the protests in Portland, led a chant of “Black Lives Matter” at Peninsula Park.
One of the speakers at the BLM rally said militias are growing and legislators are passing laws to allow people to run over protesters with their cars.
Those who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they wanted to stand against white supremacy and fascism and to show Portland is a peaceful city.
“I mean, I’m non-violent. I don’t want to fight anybody,” Gerry Foote said. “I thought maybe some people like me should come out and just say what I need to say.”
Freddie, who asked not to use his last name, said “In other places and other cities they don’t give an image of Portland as a place of peace. It’s always violence. I hear phone conversations that I’ve had from other cities like, ‘Is Portland really that bad? Is it like Vietnam? World War II? Are you guys OK?’ They promote most of the violent stuff. They don’t promote the peaceful stuff.”
Around 3 p.m. the event at Peninsula Park ended and people began to disperse. But one special guest stayed for a while: Caesar the No Drama Llama
Arrests from ‘Saturated Patrols’
The heavy police presence in the area netted additional arrests Saturday, stemming from traffic stops, and in one instance, an assault at a Plaid Pantry.
- William Day, 32, unknown residence, is charged with Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle for possessing a stolen vehicle.
Arrest time/ location: 12:30 p.m., NE. 13th Ave. & NE. Marine Dr.
Arresting Agency: Oregon State Police
- Daniel Merrill, 59, of Portland, is charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
Arrest time/ location: 10:30 a.m., N. Schmeer & N. Vancouver
Arresting Agency: Oregon State Police
- Valerie Hill, 38, of Salem, was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
Arrest time/ location: 11:15 a.m., N. Columbia & N. Vancouver
Arresting Agency: Oregon State Police
- Nimrod Taylor, 42, unknown residence, is charged with Assault in the Second Degree and Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree. Taylor is accused of assaulting a clerk at a convenience store located on N. Marine Drive & N. Vancouver Way around 2:30 p.m. Portland Police Bureau is investigating.
Police are still investigating an incident where a large rock was thrown at the window of an OSP patrol car. The officer inside was left with minor injuries.
Wheeler thanks law enforcement
In a statement late Saturday afternoon, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler thanked the police and law enforcement partners for making sure “the demonstrations have remained largely peaceful throughout the day. It’s testimony to the collaborative planning and preparation Portland Police did with our local, state and federal partners. … As the evening unfolds, I urge people to remain peaceful. We will do everything possible to hold those who break the law accountable. Violence is not welcome in Portland.”
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell shared his thanks on Twitter Saturday evening as well.
City, state preparations for the protests
The history between the groups that often spills into violence spurred Gov. Kate Brown to use her emergency authority to appoint Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese and Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton joint incident commanders of Portland for a 48-hour period between Saturday and Sunday.
Members of PPB’s Rapid Response Team were deputized as Federal Marshals at 9 a.m. Saturday, OSP tweeted. “This will allow federal prosecutors to charge allegations of assault on a federal officer to anyone who attacks Officers.”
On Friday, large barriers were placed at Delta Park. Though OSP said they would not reveal their tactical plans, they will have “a massive presence” of officers at the park in North Portland beginning Saturday morning. Their presence will also be notable at Peninsula Park and along I-5.
The arrangement ordered by Gov. Brown will allow OSP and MCSO to use tear gas if lives are at risk, and allows dozens more officers to be deployed in their effort to keep the groups apart and avoid bloodshed.
Brown said she “is incredibly concerned about the increased risk of violence in Portland this weekend and the safety of all Oregonians.”
“Some people will be armed, with others ready to harass or intimidate Oregonians,” the governor said. “The pattern of these particular groups is clear, to intimidate, instigate, and inflame.”
Brown was not shy about her directive: “Let me be very clear. Those who commit serious, violent acts will be charged, prosecuted, and held accountable.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said he was pleased about the governor’s order, said in a statement, “I categorically condemn violence of all kinds by all people. But let me be clear, the alt-right and white supremacist groups organizing to come to Portland on Saturday present the greatest threat we’ve faced so far.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.