More than a year after he punched a man in the face on a Portland sidewalk, right-wing brawler Tusitala "Tiny" Toese was arrested last night by U.S. Marshals at the Portland International Airport.
Sheriff's documents show Toese, 23, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on Friday night at 11:01 pm. The Oregonian first reported the arrest this morning.
For two years, Toese repeatedly visited Portland to pick fights with antifascists. He became the right-wing protester most frequently arrested in Portland, although he never spent a night in jail.
On June 8, 2018, Toese punched a man named Tim Ledwith in the face on a Northeast Portland sidewalk. That attack was unusual because it occurred outside the context of a scheduled political brawl. Ledwith, an antifascist protester, wasn't demonstrating at the time; Toese was riding through the Lloyd District in a truck decorated with a Trump flag when Ledwith insulted him from the sidewalk.
Toese told police he punched Ledwith. Yet prosecutors didn't issue indictments in the case until WW reporter Katie Shepherd began asking questions, nine months later. Toese and Donovon Flippo were indicted in February. Flippo pleaded guilty. Toese left Washington state for his homeland of American Samoa.
It's not clear why Toese was returning now.
Multnomah County District Attorney's Office spokesman Brent Weisberg confirms to WW that Toese was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the June 2018 assault, as well as a warrant from a 2017 case.
Toese was a close associate of Vancouver, Wash.-based protest leader Joey Gibson. Since Toese left town, Gibson has been indicted for allegedly inciting a riot outside a Northeast Portland pub. Toese has, at other times, identified as a member of the Proud Boys, a right-wing men's group.
Eric Ward, the director of the Western States Center, has been critical of Portland law enforcement and prosecutors for not cracking down on right-wing street violence. He praised the arrest in a statement today.
"Yesterday's arrest of Tusitala 'Tiny' Toese is another encouraging sign that local law enforcement is taking Proud Boy violence seriously," Ward said. "He must be held responsible for sowing chaos and violence in our community. We look to local authorities to take further steps to prevent violence and intimidation by racist and sexist organizations active in our region."