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News / Clark County News

Joey Gibson vows to fight riot charge: ‘I’m not going to plead guilty to one thing’

By Jim Ryan, oregonlive.com
Published: August 19, 2019, 1:50pm

PORTLAND — Joey Gibson, the leader of right-wing group Patriot Prayer who lives in Vancouver, vowed Monday to fight a felony charge he’s facing in connection with a May Day melee outside a Portland cidery.

Gibson appeared briefly in court, where his arraignment on a riot charge was pushed back to Aug. 27 so he can get a lawyer. He told reporters he would take the case to trial.

“If they want to continue to push these charges on me, I’ll take it to the very end,” he said while wearing a Patriot Prayer hat and a t-shirt emblazoned with an image of Martin Luther King Jr. “I’m not going to plead guilty to one thing. Not one thing. Cause I didn’t break the law.”

Gibson turned himself in to the downtown Portland jail Friday after learning of his riot allegation the previous day. He posted bail, was released and attended a protest in Portland the next day.

Gibson, 35, is one of five men booked into jail since Tuesday linked to fights, attacks and people being doused in chemical spray in the clash between right- and left-wing supporters outside Cider Riot in Northeast Portland.

All five men — Gibson, Matthew D. Cooper, Russell E. Schultz, Mackenzie Lewis and Christopher R. Ponte — have been accused of riot. Ponte is also accused of third-degree assault.

Portland police have said detectives are still investigating incidents from May 1 and June 29 and that no particular group is being targeted.

All but Schultz have been named as defendants in a $1 million lawsuit filed by the cidery’s owner. Abram Goldman-Armstrong claims Gibson and other right-wing protesters showed up to his business during a post-May Day celebration, fought with customers and injured at least one person.

James Buchal, who’s representing Gibson in his civil case, said last week that none of the multiple videos from the Cider Riot altercation shows Gibson being violent.

“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 in a statement last week. “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.”