A CONSERVATIVE videographer who makes fun of Portland-area liberals with his YouTube channel and a conservative website showed up to a Black Lives Matter and Don’t Shoot PDX protest last Thursday night, July 7, carrying more than just a camera. Michael Strickland came prepared for battle, arming himself with a loaded handgun with an extended clip, extra magazines, and a knife.
More shocking: He nearly used them.
Screams of “He’s got a gun!” erupted just before 8 pm as hundreds gathered in front of the Justice Center downtown to peacefully protest the deaths of Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of cops in Louisiana and Minnesota in the days prior. Not long before Strickland pulled his gun, police officers in Dallas were killed by a shooter, Micah Johnson, during a similar protest.
The panicky 36-year-old Strickland—his eyes bulging, his neck veins throbbing—reached under his shirt and pulled out a pistol on his right hip, aiming it sweepingly at protesters, some of whom were confronting him and slowly walking in his direction.
“Everybody get the hell back!” he screamed, before holstering his gun, which had a bullet in the chamber. “Get the hell back!”
A number of folks helped calm the scene, telling Strickland to leave the area while making sure riled-up protesters didn’t pounce on the guy who’d nearly shot them. Activist Mike BlueHair urged people to let him go on his way peacefully. Minutes after addressing hundreds of protesters with a megaphone from the Justice Center steps, Jeelani Shareef of the Black Riders Liberation Party walked up to Strickland, essentially shielding him, calling to others to stay back and yelling, “I got this! I got him!”
Activist and former mayoral candidate Jessie Sponberg then took over, escorting Strickland to cops clad in riot gear watching the protest from a block away. They hauled Strickland into the back of a van, but also briefly detained Sponberg, ordering him face-down on the grass and cuffing him before bystanders explained what had happened.
Prior to Strickland’s arrest, two local reporters filmed the amped-up conservative explaining himself.
“They kept coming toward me,” he explained in a video shot by a KOIN reporter. “That’s why I drew. I was outnumbered, they were pushing and shoving me, they were using their flagstaffs as weapons. I was backing up, they kept coming toward me. I feared for my life.”
That alleged fear hasn’t stopped authorities from throwing the book at Strickland. He was booked and released from jail that night on misdemeanor disorderly conduct and menacing charges. And on Friday, when he showed up for his arraignment, prosecutors tacked on a pair of unlawful use of a firearm charges, both felonies, and sent Strickland back to jail. Judge Leslie Bottomly set his bail at $250,000.
Strickland, a poor man’s James O’Keefe, is a known entity around Portland-area protest circles. He goes to local “liberal” events, video records them, often selectively edits them while doing a voiceover, and then uploads them to his YouTube channel “Laughing at Liberals” or sells them to conservative video-hosting site vidmax.com.
“LAL is the most complete, comprehensive, and accurate source of political news in Oregon,” he boasted on Twitter last month.
Strickland recently drew ire for showing up in June to a vigil in Portland the day after the terrorist attack inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, and making fun of a transgender person who was there to mourn the 49 people shot to death.
Some of his recent videos are titled AIDS Triggly Puff Appears at Trump Protest, Vietnamese Transgender Student’s Crazy Rant, Wackjob Commies CRASH “Students for Trump” Meeting, and a sarcastic Muh Reparations from Muh Oppressors! He seemed to obsessively latch onto Portland Community College’s “Whiteness History Month” in April.
He’s also, obviously, a gun advocate, having previously run something called the “Second Amendment Action Center.”
Strickland did have a concealed handgun license. According to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office, it will be automatically revoked in light of his arrest.