New video analysis appears to reveal that former mayoral candidate Jessie Sponberg tried and failed to deliver the knockout blow to a counter-protester at the anti-Trump, pro-refugee protest at Portland International Airport last week.
Sponberg claimed in a Facebook post that he was responsible for "neutralizing" Grant Chisholm, a member of a group that calls itself the "Bible Believers." He said he would turn himself in to police, and has been fundraising for a legal defense.
Sponberg may have taken a swing, but a careful examination of the video suggests he missed.
Contacted Sunday, Sponberg said he needed to speak with his attorney before commenting.
"I reached out to my attorney to see what I can say tonight," he said in an email. "It's the middle of the Super Bowl though so he might be doing something. I'll keep you posted though."
He had not provided an update as of Monday morning.
Alex Ansary, a former Portland resident who now lives in Colorado, took a close look at the video of the incident and says he does not believe Sponberg threw the punch for which he has taken credit.
"When I saw the reports suggesting Jessie claimed that he played a role in 'neutralizing the threat,' I could see in the actual footage that while Jesse swung inside the airport, it was another person that actually knocked Grant Chisholm out," Ansary tells WW.
"As a man of Afghan and European heritage, I'm incredibly affected emotionally by the rise in 'white genocide' hysteria and other means of marginalizing those of Middle Eastern dissent and other immigrants. If I felt truly welcome in my birth city of Portland even, I would have remained but that is another story. So while I have empathy for the feelings of the protesters and I myself live in a new world of fear of racially motivated intrusions into my life now or later in life, I do not support the use of violence even against those that hate my kind.
"What I see Jessie doing," Ansary concludes, "is potentially giving Portland activists a bad reputation while claiming he is the one that knocked out Grant or was apart of the decision process. I believe he's acting out of self-interest."
Update, 1:10 pm:
Sponberg continued to decline to comment on the allegations, citing his lawyer's advice, but did have this critique:
"You gave the basement bitterman a platform for his corny YouTube channel full of UFOs and MK Ultra the designation of being a reliable voice in local journalism," says Sponberg.
Port of Portland police spokesperson Kama Simonds says that Sponberg and his attorney met with police on the evening of Feb. 2.
"As requested, a Port Police representative met with Mr. Sponberg and his attorney," Simonds says. "At that point, Mr. Sponberg opted to not talk. At no time was he detained by Port Police. The investigation is still underway and there has been no related arrest at this time."