People in a May 28 protest crowd in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center chased, tackled and punched someone they believed to be right-wing author Andy Ngo, pursuing him through the streets of Portland until he hid inside The Nines hotel.
The enraged group pulled on the hotel’s front doors and shouted, “You wanna kill us? You wanna kill us, Andy?” at The Nines staff while the hotel staff frantically tried to hold the entrance closed.
The person hiding in The Nines appeared to be Ngo to this reporter—who saw him in the light of an elevator as he entered it and faced the front before the doors closed. But Ngo has not responded to WW’s inquiries whether he was assaulted, and has released no public statements about the incident.
Ngo is the nation’s most prominent media detractor of Portland’s anti-fascist movement. In January, he published a bestselling book criticizing antifa. His national fame stems in part from being kicked and punched by masked assailants during a Portland protest in May 2019.
The staff of The Nines didn’t seem to have any knowledge of who Ngo is. They repeatedly asked the crowd to clarify what was going on. Eventually they asked for the group to leave.
The person believed to be Ngo was not observed leaving the hotel, so the crowd waited in front of The Nines for at least an hour, telling people entering the hotel that it was “sheltering a Nazi.”
The small crowd of leftist protesters—approximately 75—was already on edge after the Department of Homeland Security and Portland police conducted two targeted arrests early in the evening in Terry Schrunk Plaza. In response, the crowd threw raw eggs at the Southwest 2nd Avenue entrance of the Justice Center before peacefully marching through the downtown, chanting and beating drums.
The small crowd gathered because May 28 was the one-year anniversary of Portland’s first night of protests of the murder of George Floyd.
Friday’s march concluded around 11:30 pm without much fanfare. Word began to spread that Ngo was in the crowd—disguised and wearing a Black Lives Matter flag around his shoulders.
A group of five to 10 people in identity-obscuring clothing called “black bloc” followed the person they suspected of being Ngo for blocks, inquiring who he was. At one point, the person they pursued said his name was Jake. In front of the AC Marriott, the group tried to unmask the unknown man. He ran for blocks until someone in the pursuing group tackled him—at Southwest 4th Avenue and Morrison Street—and punched him several times after his head hit the brick sidewalk.
A nearby man holding a skateboard admonished the group, saying that their quarry looked like he’d “had enough.” However, when someone nearby shouted that the person they were assaulting was Ngo, the skateboard-carrying man changed his attitude, swearing and joining the group.
When the fleeing man took shelter in The Nines, he appeared to be pleading with staff. “They’re going to kill me,” he said.
At midnight, Portland police arrived at The Nines on bicycles, along with a riot van, and made at least one arrest. As of Saturday morning, police had not released any information on the incident.
Police withdrew from the scene, but used their sound truck to warn the crowd: “Anyone who is not a guest of The Nines may not enter the hotel. Do not enter or damage The Nines hotel property.…Move away from The Nines hotel now.”
Ngo’s willingness to post the mug shots and other personal information of arrested protesters has caused many of the people in Portland’s leftist movement to see him as something like an existential threat. In his reporting—via Twitter, the conservative news site The Post Millennial, and guest appearances on Fox News—Ngo has been regularly accused of sensationalizing the danger presented by anti-fascists and other left-wing groups.
In February, Hachette released a memoir, written by Ngo—Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. Local activists responded to the book with demonstrations in front of Powell’s Books—angry that the bookstore would carry it. The demonstrations generated news coverage that arguably helped raise the book’s profile.