Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson facing charges

Gibson turned himself in to law enforcement authorities Friday on a warrant that was issued connected to a May Day protest in Portland

A news release from the Portland Police Bureau confirmed that Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer and Clark County native, turned himself in to law enforcement authorities Friday and was lodged into the Multnomah County Detention Center.

The warrant that was issued against Gibson was the result of an investigation that started on May 1, related to a disturbance in the 800 block of Northeast Couch Street.

“It was weird because basically I had been told by other people who talked to the police, they said there’s a warrant out for my arrest,” Gibson told ClarkCountyToday.com on Thursday afternoon. “At one point, it was showing up in the system that there was a warrant, and then it went away.”

Gibson’s attorney, James Buchal, issued a release Thursday accusing Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill of issuing the warrant ahead of findings from a grand jury.

“Today, an alleged website malfunction at the office of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office has revealed that the District Attorney (without waiting for his grand jury to indict), has rushed to file criminal charges against Mr. Joseph Gibson,’’ Buchal stated. “The District Attorney claims that Mr. Gibson committed the crime of ‘riot’ (ORS 166.015), which requires proof of ‘tumultuous and violent conduct’ by Mr. Gibson. There are multiple videos of the events at Cider Riot, and not one of them shows Mr. Gibson engaging in violent conduct.”

Joey Gibson, shown here in this file photo, announced Thursday on the Lars Larson Radio Show (FM News 101 KXL) that he is facing charges for rioting in connection to an incident that took place on May 1 outside a Portland restaurant. Photo by Mike Schultz
Joey Gibson, shown here in this file photo, announced Thursday that he is facing rioting charges in connection to an incident that took place on May 1 outside a Portland restaurant. Photo by Mike Schultz

The charge of “inciting a riot” is a class C felony in Oregon, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $125,000.

A Thursday news release from the Portland Police Bureau reported the arrests of two suspects related to the May Day incident, including Washougal resident Russell E. Schultz and 24-year-old Matthew D. Cooper. However, the news release didn’t not report any charges for Gibson.

The May Day incident took place outside the Cider Riot restaurant. The owner of the restaurant filed a lawsuit against Gibson and four others, alleging they showed up in front of the restaurant and began fighting with customers.

“I got assaulted multiple times that day, pepper sprayed, I don’t know how many times, like too many to count,” Gibson told ClarkCountyToday.com. “Never fought back, I never threw anything onto the property. I stood on a sidewalk and recorded the mayhem.”

Gibson said he had planned to turn himself in Thursday but, after speaking with Buchal, decided to hold off until Friday morning to determine if the warrant had, in fact, been issued and was valid.

“The goal is to be able to go and be out the same day,” Gibson said, “but I think they’re trying to hold me over the weekend because of the rally.”

Gibson is referring to another round of dueling rallies set to happen on Saturday in downtown Portland. Previous such rallies over the Summer have resulted in bloody riots and bad publicity on a national scale for the city.

On Thursday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler gathered with a group of people in Pioneer Courthouse Square urging the groups to either remain peaceful or remain home. Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw have made it clear that they will have a strong law enforcement presence and will not tolerate any violence.

Gibson said he hadn’t planned to attend the rallies on Saturday, and expressed frustration with how previous protests have turned out in Portland.

“There’s a lot of people who show up to these rallies — or it started to be that way — who aren’t even Patriots,” Gibson told ClarkCountyToday.com. Maybe they may be, but they’re pissed off, they’re angry, they just want blood. So you have those types of people. And it’s a big problem. It’s really frustrating.”

Gibson added that he now prefers rallies in smaller cities with fewer people, so that you “can have conversations.”

“And the good thing about that is you go into these areas that are safe, and then liberals show up, and you’re able to talk instead of Antifa trying to keep them all separate,” added Gibson. “Because that’s what Antifa does. They want the left and the right to stay separated.”

Buchal, who also serves as chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, also appeared on the Lars Larson Radio Show.

“Mr. Gibson was repeatedly pepper-sprayed and spat upon by violent members of Antifa, none of whom have been arrested or charged for their conduct on May 1st,’’ Buchal said in his statement. “It is not as though the government is ignorant of the identity of the Antifa combatants; even now, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission refuses to release an investigative report about Cider Riot that Mr. Gibson requested long ago, which should identify other combatants.

“These charges represent a total failure of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office to distinguish between violent conduct and the exercise of First Amendment rights,’’ Buchal stated.  “Worse still, by arresting only one side of the alleged ‘riot,’ the District Attorney of Multnomah County is by all appearances acting as a special prosecutor for Antifa. These criminal proceedings are part and parcel of the dishonest campaign by Portland leaders to blame out-of-town demonstrators for violence that began and persists because Antifa wants to shut down any right-wing demonstrations in Portland.  Antifa publicly asserts its insistence on shutting down these demonstrations by any means necessary, and to date, nearly all the perpetrators of Antifa violence have escaped justice. 

“If Mr. Gibson’s conduct on May 1st constitutes ‘riot,’ so does the conduct of thousands of peaceful demonstrators who have appeared on the streets of Portland standing near violent Antifa members,’’ Buchal said. “The District Attorney’s decision to destroy constitutional protections against free speech by charging a peaceful protester with a crime of violence makes this a dark day for the rule of law in Oregon.’’

The Portland Police Bureau news release stated the May Day incident was “an on-going investigation and no further details are available for release.

“Detectives continue to actively work several cases related to the May 1st and June 29th demonstrations,’’ read the release. “If anyone has information related to crimes committed on those or other dates, they are encouraged to contact the Portland Police Bureau at crimetips@portlandoregon.gov.

For persons wishing to remain anonymous, tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers of Oregon.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 cash for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Visit the App Store and download P3 Tips to submit secure and anonymous tips. Online at https://www.p3tips.com/823 . Call 503-823-HELP (4357).

ClarkCountyToday.com will continue to follow this developing story.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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