One year's lawlessness is another year's court docket. The summer of 2018 saw unprecedented mayhem between Portland's warring protesters—and the riot police who cracked down on the leftist contingent of demonstrators. The results of those confrontations appeared in a different venue this week: courthouses.
What happened in 2018: In June, right-wing brawler Tusitala "Tiny" Toese jumped out of a pickup truck and punched Tim Ledwith, an antifascist protester who had insulted him. The attack marked an escalation of Portland's street violence: It occurred on the sidewalk, outside the context of a scheduled protest. Last February, prosecutors indicted Toese. He left Washington state for American Samoa.
What happened this week: Toese flew into Portland International Airport—where he was arrested Oct. 4 by the U.S. Marshal Service. On Oct. 7, he pleaded not guilty to assault charges in Multnomah County Circuit Court. After his hearing, Toese responded to press questions by reciting the credo of the Proud Boys, a right-wing men's group: "I'm a proud Western chauvinist and I refuse to apologize for creating a modern world."
What happened in 2018: Leftist protesters gathered in downtown in August to oppose a gathering led by Vancouver, Wash.-based demonstrator Joey Gibson. Police fired flash-bang munitions into the antifascist crowd. Aaron Anthony Cantu said he was running away from police when he was struck in the back of the head with an explosive device that penetrated the bike helmet he was wearing.
What happened this week: Cantu and two other protesters filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Oct. 7 against the city of Portland and its police officers. Cantu says in the lawsuit that he still suffers from dizziness and tinnitus. His attorneys argue that the Portland Police Bureau has a practice of responding with disproportionate violence to left-wing protesters. "The decision to fire explosives at the heads of protesters and use rubber bullets on fleeing, nonviolent protesters in this case was made by PPB officials […] who are sufficiently senior that the decision may fairly be said to represent official policy of the city of Portland," the lawsuit says. PPB declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said it's not currently using "aerial distraction devices" as crowd control.