O n 30 June in Portland, Oregon, a rally staged by the rightwing Patriot Prayer group degenerated into a riotous fight with leftwing counter-protesters. The violence was extensive but rightwing media and activists have lavished attention on a single punch. Ethan Nordean, a muscular year-old from Washington state, was captured on video fending off two baton blows from a masked counter-protester.
He then flattened his assailant. The video has been used to buttress the preferred rightwing explanation for the Portland riot: It has also been seized on as a recruiting tool by a group, the Proud Boys, which has risen to prominence on the far right since the election and which the Southern Poverty Law Center SPLC lists as a hate group.
Nordean was wearing a black and gold Fred Perry polo shirt — the uniform of the Proud Boys.
The article concluded with a group slogan: Social media accounts associated with the Proud Boys have spread the video. Since earlya core group of Proud Boys from the Pacific north-west have been active participants in a number of rightwing rallies.
Nordean has attended events in Portland and Seattle. At least 60 Proud Boys answered. Some came from other states, including California and Texas.
Many wore body armour, helmets and gas masks. They live on the internet to promote their brands, and that includes Gavin McInnes.
McInnes claims his group does not promote violence at all. McInness, who was born in Britain and moved to Canada at a young age, was a co-founder of Vice Media, which he left in As well as items from a growing range of official merchandise, members often wear red Donald Trump caps.
Their Fred Perry shirts have a history in subcultures including football hooliganism; black and gold are the colors of anarcho-capitalism, a libertarian ideology which seeks to abolish government in the interest of free markets.
In Canada, the Globe and Mail summarized his beliefs as: McInnes denies that his group is racist, and he and other Proud Boys point to the presence of non-white members.
But in Portland on 30 June, a man in Proud Boys colors taunted counter-protesters through a bullhorn. Another man marched alongside the group and yelled racist slurs.
Other Patriot Prayer rallies at which Proud Boys have been present have drawn members of far-right groups including Cascade Legion and Identity Evropa. Nordean was briefly apprehended.
Nordean found a place in the limelight. Last Friday, Jones interviewed him.
Regarding counter-protesters, Jones said: But they do listen to your fist smashing into their face. In a podcast last May, he said: The Guardian reached McInnes by phone. Asked about the violence in Portland, he said: Before he could be asked about alleged violent incidents in the Pacific north-west involving Proud Boys members, McInnes ended the conversation. In one such alleged incident, Proud Boy Tusitala Toese Fuck face violent clips alleged to have punched a Portland man, Tim Ledwith, in broad daylight in a busy shopping district.
Toese and another group member, Donovon Flippo, were arrested on 30 June.
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The men appeared in court on 2 July but were released with no restrictions. In another alleged incident, on 11 May in Vancouver, Washington, Toese, Flippo and another man, Russell Schultz, were allegedly involved in an altercation with Mykel Mosley, a young African American man.
Toese allegedly struck Mosley but it was Mosley who was detained, first by mall guards and then by police.