PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson said Thursday he will turn himself in to authorities in connection with criminal charges related to a brawl in Portland in May.
Gibson’s attorney says a glitch on the Multnomah County District Attorney’s website revealed Thursday that Gibson is wanted for a felony charge of rioting, before being indicted by a grand jury.
“This is a political charge, 100 percent and it’s meant to ruin my First Amendment in Portland,” Gibson told FOX 12.
Gibson’s attorney, who is also the Multnomah GOP chair, told FOX 12 the criminal charge is connected to a May Day brawl outside Cider Riot! in northeast Portland.
Police said as many as 60 people were involved in the fight. Gibson told FOX 12 it involved members of his group and Antifa.
Gibson’s attorney released a statement Thursday saying Gibson was pepper-spray and spat upon that day by members of Antifa, “none of whom have been arrested or charged for their conduct on May 1st.”
Gibson’s attorney said there are multiple videos of the events at Cider Riot, “and not one of them shows Mr. Gibson engaging in violent conduct.”
Gibson maintains he never got physical with anyone.
“My crime is standing on a sidewalk, recording, talking to people and being assaulted,” he said. “Who did I assault? That’s part of the rioting charges, that I have to be violent.”
BREAKING: Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson confirms he is turning himself in to @MultCoSO He’s being charged with Class E Felony Rioting for the #MayDay incident outside Cider Riot. @fox12oregon pic.twitter.com/Nu1fgKGFoY— Marja Martinez (@MarjaKPTV) August 15, 2019
FOX 12 reached out the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office for more information. A spokesman said, “The DA’s office is not confirming the charge. We will not be releasing any further statement.”
A Portland Police Bureau detective later confirmed to FOX 12 that there is an active warrant for Gibson's arrest.
Gibson called it a “politically-motivated” move aimed to keep him out of Portland.
“Now, this is a real fight for free speech. This is them using the justice system to try to silence me. So, I’m going to have to challenge it,” he said.
This latest development comes as rallies and protests are expected to take place Saturday in downtown Portland.
Gibson says he hadn’t yet decided if he was going to join other right-wingers attending. Oath Keepers, another far-right group, announced Thursday they would not be attending.
Gibson told FOX 12 he will voluntarily turn himself in sometime Friday on that warrant.
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