Portland police arrest 3 after skirmishes at anti-KKK rally
Three people were arrested — and at least another trio were injured — during a tumultuous day of protests in downtown Portland.
Black-clad anti-fascists occupied Lownsdale Square near Portland City Hall for hours during an anti-KKK demonstration. But while the Klu Klux Klan never showed — and indeed had called off their rally at the last moment earlier that morning — the protesters known as Antifa stayed busy bouncing off lines of riot police and bike cops for hours.
"We basically planned this knowing that it was most likely going to be a victory party, without a lot of 'hurrah' before hand," said Effie Baum, a represenative for Pop Mob, who organized the counter-protest. "We still have to show up, because the risk of not showing up is far greater."
The anti-KKK rally was galvanized after the Tribune reported that Steven Shane Howard — a former Imperial Wizard for the North Mississippi White Knights — had announced a rally outside the Multnomah County Courthouse on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Just after 8 a.m., the Vancouver, Washington-based klansman called off the rally, and was reportedly hiding out in a hotel room. Earlier in the week, Howard had requested barricades to separate his group from counter-protesters but had been rebuffed by authorities, the Tribune has learned.
Lacking the ostensible target of the counter-protest, several hundred people dressed in Antifa outfits ended up zeroing in on livestreamers, several counter counter-protesters and officers with the Portland Police Bureau.
Police said they did not use force during the incident, though medics treated three for "exposure to pepper spray deployed by community members," according to a news release.
A woman who was shoved into the street and told to "Go Home" said in an interview that she heard about the anti-KKK protest from the Unpresidented Brass Band, and was there to protest Donald Trump and the government.
"They're here to provoke a riot and I'm here to stop it," Mary Jean Dowell said of Antifa. "Unfortunately, this is an urban battle ground and I'm a retired soldier."
Woman being pushed about at Portland protest pic.twitter.com/ds6Bp2u0ID— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) February 8, 2020
The city's precincts stopped responding to non-emergency calls for about an hour as officers rushed in to the relatively small area where the protest occurred.
Among those detained was Brandon Michael Farley, a videographer who often films the homeless and needle exchanges.
Officers on bicycles also chased a man who they said was spraypainting the Soldiers Memorial, an obelisk and sculpture dedicated to Oregon infantry members who served during the Spanish-American War.
The man was eventually arrested near Fourth Avenue and Southwest Taylor Street.
Earlier in the day, officers on bikes zipped forward to arrest a man who evaded them by slipping back into the crowd, leading to a stand-off, chanting and police eventually backing down.
Videographer Eli Richey said he was sprayed with paint or pepper spray near the city's Justice Center. Another livestreamer reportedly hit a woman with a car while he was attempting to leave the area near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Madison Street. Police said the woman was treated at a hospital for a non-life-threatening injury, and the driver cooperated and remained at the scene.
Several others were shouted down or pushed out of the park at the point of metal-tipped umbrellas.
Police said protesters were throwing projectiles at them, including tennis balls, oranges, rocks, concrete, food and sticks. A few flares were also lit in the street. The protest began at 10:30 a.m. and concluded by roughly 2 p.m.
"I want to acknowledge the community members who came down to peacefully assemble and exercise their freedom of speech rights," said Police Chief Jami Resch. "Unfortunately, a group of people chose to engage in dangerous, illegal behavior. I appreciate the thoughtful, measured response by our officers and law enforcement partners."
She added: "A small group's actions negatively impacted public safety of the entire city because resources had to be diverted to this event."
Here's who police say they arrested:
• Brandon Michael Farley, 31, on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree disorderly conduct
• Heaven M. Davis, 19, on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree criminal mischief
• Willy Javoddrean Cannon, 25, on charges of misdemeanor abuse of a memorial to the dead, and felony first-degree criminal mischief
So far, only Farley has been released from the downtown jail, per records.
Reward offered for clues:
Police are also seeking to ID a suspect who escaped after allegedly vandalizing the war momument, saying a cash reward will be given in exchange for information. Police released these photos to the public to aid in the investigation:
Read our previous reporting below:
Portland Police say a Saturday rally organized by a self-proclaimed leader of the Klu Klux Klan has been called off.
Steven Shane Howard — a former Imperial Wizard for the North Mississippi White Knights — had announced a rally outside the Multnomah County Courthouse on Saturday, Feb. 8. Anti-fascist groups and other counter-protesters had vowed to mobilize downtown as well, leading to expectations of a clash.
But, just after 8 a.m., the Portland Police Bureau announced that Howard had apparently canceled the rally.
"The organizer for the rally in front of the Multnomah County Courthouse has communicated to PPB he has canceled the event planned for this morning and does not intend to show up," according to a bureau tweet. "PPB continues to monitor the situation."
The organizer for the rally in front of the Multnomah County— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) February 8, 2020
Courthouse has communicated to PPB he has cancelled the event planned for this morning and does not intend to show up. PPB continues to monitor the situation.
The black-clad cadre known as Antifa is still planning to spread their message that the "KKK has NO PLACE in Portland," according to Popular Mobilization, an online group that has organized previous counter-protests.
Reportedly living in Vancouver, Washington since around 2016, Howard's most visible appearance happened the next year in 2017, when he joined other attendees at a march in support of President Donald Trump in a Lake Oswego park.
He was also the subject of a documentary, "Generation KKK" or, alternatively, "Escaping the KKK."
"We all here for the same reason: we're here for the preservation of our race and the preservation of our people," Howard said, according to a preview of the show, which never aired. "If we don't fight this battle, our children ain't gonna have a future."
The KKK's long and sordid history as a white supremacist hate group has been well documented. The Tribune's ground-breaking series, Band of Others, showed the tangled relationship between Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson and Howard.
The klansman's actual level of influence or number of followers is an open question, however.
Band of Others series
Part One: Making of a street brawl
Part Four: Joey's business
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.