A right-wing activist and Vancouver man who fled the country after being indicted on assault charges in Portland was arraigned Monday in Multnomah County, Ore., Circuit Court.
Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, 23, faces charges of third- and fourth-degree assault, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
The two-count indictment was filed Feb. 28. He pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges.
Toese, who is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 265 pounds, gained notoriety as a member of the far-right groups Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys whose rallies in Portland and elsewhere have led to counterprotests and often escalated into violence.
Following his court appearance, Toese recited a Proud Boys credo in response to press questions, according to Willamette Week. Toese is out of custody, and the presiding judge is allowing him to live in Clark County while his case is pending, according to the weekly newspaper.
Toese reportedly returned to American Samoa after being indicted in February. Fellow Proud Boys member and Vancouver resident Donovan Flippo was also indicted.
The criminal investigation began July 12, 2018, after the victim reported to the Portland Police Bureau that he was assaulted four days prior at the intersection of Northeast 12th Avenue and Northeast Broadway in Portland. He was crossing south on 12th Avenue and saw a truck stopped at the red light. The truck, in which Flippo was a passenger, was headed west on Broadway, the news release says.
Occupants in the truck started shouting politically-based comments, the victim told police, and he recognized Flippo as someone who attends political demonstrations in Portland. The victim yelled back, prompting Flippo to exit the truck. A brief verbal altercation ensued that resulted in the victim being physically assaulted. The victim received multiple stitches to his lip and was treated for a concussion, according to the press release.
Toese was allegedly involved in the assault.
Flippo pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault in July and was sentenced to eight days in jail, among other conditions.