Slugging people isn’t free speech

Compiled from news reports and other sources.

Five members of Patriot Prayer, a rightwing vigilante group, were hit with felony charges and a $1 million civil lawsuit for starting a brawl at a Portland, Oregon cider house on May 1, 2019.

About 20 members of the group went to a business called Cider Riot where “antifa” protesters had gathered and started a fight (captured in part by the video below) in which they threw punches, sprayed mace, and knocked a woman unconscious with a baton. The civil suit was brought by the establishment’s owner.

On September 11, 2020, a lawyer for Joey Gibson (photo, left), founder and leader of Patriot Prayer, and another of the defendants sued the Oregon D.A. in federal court to block the prosecutions, asserting they’re being prosecuted “selectively” because the D.A. announced a policy of not prosecuting protesters who don’t cause property damage or injury.

The lawyer also argues the charges against Gibson violate his free speech rights and are part of a “dishonest campaign by Portland leaders to blame out-of-town demonstrators for violence.” Gibson is from out-of-town, and his gang caused the violence. The lawyer, James Buchal, is a far-right politician-wannabe whose impressive resume includes losing elections for state legislature, Congress, and state attorney general.

Should I tell Mr. Buchal and his clients that slugging and macing people isn’t free speech? Nah, I’ll let the judge educate them. That’s his job. not mine.

Sources: Here (federal lawsuit), here and here (brawl), and here (Mr. Buchal).

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