Understanding what happened on May 1 outside of Portland's Cider Riot bar isn't easy. With numerous cell phone videos documenting the brawl between members of far-right group Patriot Prayer and anti-fascist (or, antifa) Portlanders and clashing witness accounts of what happened, it's genuinely hard to get the story straight.
Fortunately, that job is now up to the courts to figure out. Since the May Day melee, Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson and several of his compatriots have been arrested on criminal charges and have been named in a lawsuit filed by Cider Riot itself.
Last week, the Multnomah County court unsealed an affidavit from Deputy District Attorney Brad Kalbaugh, which outlines alleged criminal activity captured on video taken during the May Day clash. The affidavit, which was used to obtain Gibson's arrest, details activity reviewed by Portland Police Detective Christopher Traynor through "numerous video clips of the incident." (A reminder: Police officers didn't show up at Cider Riot until after the brawl had ended). The affidavit does not cite which specific videos Traynor relied on.
To help understand the moments mentioned in the court documented, the Mercury referenced clips from two of the most detailed videos of the clash. One of the videos was taken by a man working undercover in Patriot Prayer, who wishes to remain anonymous. We're calling him "Ben." The other was taken by Nate Millsap, a videographer who frequents Patriot Prayer rallies and uploads clips to a YouTube channel called "Stumptown Matters." Millsap has since made the video he took on May 1 private, but lawyers representing Cider Riot have included a recovered copy in their court filing.
Below are quotes pulled directly from the affidavit, paired with videos that begin at the exact moment the cited activity begins. We've also added several extra moments from Millsap's recording that are not addressed in the affidavit.
"Video observed by Detective Traynor shows Gibson repeatedly challenging members of the Antifa group to fight him as he says 'do something' and taunts them from a sidewalk."
For those unfamiliar: Gibson is the man in the gray baseball hat and sunglasses.
"Video observed by Detective Traynor shows Gibson, [Russell] Schultz and others in a circle around two people engaged in a fist fight, one from each opposing group."
Schultz is wearing a black t-shirt over a long-sleeve red shirt.
Gibson and Schultz have both been charged with inciting a riot.
"Video observed by Detective Traynor shows Christopher Ponte discharge pepper spray or mace at the crowd of Antifa supporters."
Ponte is wearing a light grey t-shirt and goggles.
"Video observed by Detective Traynor shows Matthew Cooper physically attacking members of the Antifa group, throwing objects at them and attempting to provoke a fight."
Here's Cooper, wearing a green and white striped shirt and googles, tossing an object at the Cider Riot crowd:
And here's Cooper goading the group later on:
Cooper has been charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, and harassment.
"Video observed by Detective Traynor shows Gibson physically pushing Heather Clark, the woman who eventually was knocked unconscious by Ian Kramer."
This one is confusing. While Gibson is seen physically holding Clark back in this clip, in an effort to separate her from Cooper, it appears that Cooper is the one who "physically push[es]" Clark—causing her to react. Seconds later, she's knocked out cold by Kramer. Kramer has been charged with second degree assault, disorderly conduct, inciting a riot, and several other related crimes.
"Video observed by Detective Traynor shows Mackenzie Lewis physically taunting members of the Antifa group in an effort to provoke a fight."
Lewis is the one carrying the giant black "Don't Tread on Me" flag. Here he is taunting members of Antifa before the altercation kicks off.
Lewis has been charged with inciting a riot.
"Detective Traynor clearly observed all six of the above named individuals taunting and physically threatening members of the Antifa groups in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation."
Here's just one example of this, captured at the end of the clash. At this point, Patriot Prayer has begun to retreat. But, it you listen closely, you'll hear Gibson say "...unless someone else wants to fight." Seconds later (at 32:35), he's telling Cooper to, "Go on! Go on!" Cooper does.
And here's a final piece of violence caught on film that Traynor doesn't mention in his affidavit. First, a clip of a man yelling at Christopher Ponte (grey shirt),"You’re not gonna hit me." Ponte promptly punches the man in the face.
Another piece that's not included in the affidavit: A moment from the very end of Millsap's video, where Millsap is recounting the day's activities with Ponte. Ponte is off-screen, walking to the right of Millsap, but you can hear him talking about his earlier altercation.
"That dude, I thought he was antifa, he said 'hit me, hit me,'" Ponte says. "Okay, I’m gonna hit you!"
Ponte has been charged with inciting a riot and third-degree assault for this attack.
All six defendants have pled not guilty. Further proceedings will continue in Multnomah County Circuit Court.