Patriot Prayer marched in downtown Portland on October 13, 2018 as a “Flash march for Law and Order in PDX” as a response to an altercation between protesters of the Patrick Kimmons shooting and a driver who drove through a crowd the week before on October 6.
After a video of the incident went viral nationwide and Fox News made it look worse than it was, Mayor Ted Wheeler responded in his monthly press briefing by saying “at any given moment in this city the police are being criticized for being heavy handed and intervening too quickly or they’re being criticized for being standoffish and not intervening quickly enough.”
While the Mayor said he was appalled by the incident he also said that he agreed with the police decision not to have intervened and that “crowd control situations need to be handled on a case-to-case basis.”
In response to this, on October 12, 2018, Joey Gibson, Patriot Prayer’s leader, announced on the groups Facebook page their intention to form a flash march on October 13, 2018 on the NE corner of Nordstrom across from Pioneer Square at 6 p.m. in response to what he said were Mayor Wheeler’s actions allowing “angry mobs to run the streets.”
“We need as many American flags as we can bring, it’s a beautiful thing to see American flags in downtown Portland because American flags aren’t very welcomed,” Gibson said in a video for the event.
“Ted Wheeler is already feeling the pressure, simply by making one live video he decides to come out and have a press conference about it,” Gibson said. He also announced his intention to have the group march by the memorial for Patrick Kimmons at the corner of SW Harvey Milk St. and SW Fourth Ave.
That same evening, October 12, Arun Gupta retweeted reports that Proud Boys and racist skinheads were seen brutally assaulting people side by side in New York City after Proud Boys’ leader Gavin McInnes gave a speech inside the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan. Later, Fox News alleged “Antifa strikes again” and alleged that anti-fascists brought swords to NY. Their evidence was footage of a man getting out of a car brandishing a sword, this was a false claim—the man with the sword was McInnes, not an anti-fascist protester.
At 2:10 p.m. on the 13th, hours before the Patriot Prayer march was scheduled to begin, journalist Jacqueline Keeler received an International SOS urging travelers to “plan routes avoiding a rally by the far-right Patriot Prayer group…” where travelers may experience “…incidental exposure to violence.”
By 6:15 p.m. on Saturday October 13th, about a hundred Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys members assembled outside of Nordstrom. Joey Gibson and the leader of the Proud Boys “Tiny” Toese took turns giving speeches while the last few of their members arrived.
As 7 p.m. rolled around, 150 or so Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys started their march chanting simply “USA!” and “Trump!” as they walked down the sidewalk to the corner of SW 6th and Yamhill before heading toward the Patrick Kimmons memorial at the corner of SW 4th and SW Harvey Milk. This is when the Portland Police Bureau made their presence known, informing the group to stay on the sidewalks. When the group arrived at the Kimmons memorial they were met by around 200–300 “bloc’d out” anti-fascist counter-protesters and plain-clothed civilians.
After about 30 minutes of the groups yelling at each other and member of Patriot Prayer delivered flowers to the Kimmons memorial and an antifascist member started to burn an American flag—the flag was snatched up by a Patriot Prayer member before it was burned to ashes.
Another 5 minutes or so passed and the right-wing group continued their march, going down two more blocks, taking a left on SW Pine followed by a left on SW 5th to head back toward Pioneer Square.
When the group got to SW 5th and SW Harvey Milk they attempted to take a left and head right back towards the Kimmons memorial but were met by a wall of anti-fascist protesters. After several tense moments in a standoff, multiple anti-fascists started to spray the crowd with bear spray and an all-out brawl between the groups occurred in front of Kelly’s Olympian.
Police officers struggled to maintain order due to more than a half dozen fights happening simultaneously; including one where a far-right protester saw a counterprotester being kicked repeatedly while on the ground, ran over, and brutally stomped on the counterprotester’s head three times. Rubber bullets were deployed by PPB and the groups separated. It was announced later by PPB that no arrests were made.
Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys reformed their groups and the anti-fascists retreated back to the Kimmons memorial behind a police line. Gibson and his cohorts continued back down SW 5th, while several members—including minority members—made the known white supremacist hand signal of an upside-down OK at any camera they could till they got to pioneer square and back to their starting spot in front of Nordstrom by 8 p.m. By 9 p.m. most of the group had disbursed leaving only about 30 of the group still waiting for their ride to arrive.
Koin 6 reported that four individuals were treated for injuries at the scene, and reportedly no one was taken to the hospital even though the individual whose head was stomped on 3 times clearly lost a significant amount of blood.