The Multnomah County Department of Community Justice is asking a judge to issue a warrant for the arrest of Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, a right-wing brawler who is on probation for an assault conviction.
Toese punched a man in the face on a Northeast Portland sidewalk on June 8, 2018. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in January. As a condition of Toese's probation agreement, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Kathleen Dailey prohibited Toese in January from attending protests for two years.
Now, the Department of Community Justice says Toese may have violated his probation.
"We have initiated a warrant for his arrest," DCJ senior manager Lisa Lewis tells WW. "The warrant is based on alleged violations of supervision."
DCJ filed the warrant request in Multnomah County Circuit Court on June 18. It is unclear if a judge has yet issued the warrant.
Lewis declined to say what event incited the arrest warrant, but reports from the past month provide clues.
Earlier this month, video surfaced in which Toese, 24, appears to shove, grab and drag a protester in Seattle, not far from the "autonomous zone" erected by left-wing protesters. He's one of three men who participated in the beating.
WW also learned of a separate incident on June 4 in which Toese and three other men surrounded an attendee of a Black Lives Matter protest. The man filed a complaint with Toese's parole supervisors the next day.
The protester, named Zach, declined to use his last name for fear of retribution. But WW confirmed with law enforcement that he relayed the allegation to DCJ the day after the incident occurred.
Zach says he was at Southwest 4th Avenue and Taylor Street in downtown Portland at about 11 pm on June 4 when he saw Toese with three other men. He says he recognized Toese, who is 6 feet tall and Samoan.
"I looked up and Tiny was staring a hole through my head," Zach says. "I thought this could go one of two ways: He could sucker punch me, which he's known for, or he could let it go."
Toese and the three other men gathered around Zach, he says, but backed off.
"I remember being blindsided by his aggressiveness," Zach says.
DCJ spokeswoman Jessica Morkert-Shibley says Toese's parole officer in Washington state "addressed" the June 4 Portland incident, and that it was not the inciting incident for the arrest warrant. That suggests he's wanted for the Seattle encounter, or for something else entirely.
"As part of his conditions from Multnomah County, he is restricted from participating in mass demonstrations in Multnomah County during the term of his supervision," Morkert-Shibley says. "He was sanctioned by his Washington state probation officer in early June for leaving the state of Washington without permission and being in the Multnomah County area."
Since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, Toese became among the best-known figures associated with the conservative protest group Patriot Prayer and the right-wing men's organization called the Proud Boys. For years, he visited Portland protests, engaging in fistfights with anti-fascist demonstrators.
In February 2019, WW obtained cellphone text messages between Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson and a Portland police lieutenant that raised questions about why police avoided arresting Toese at protests.
WW then published a story examining Multnomah County prosecutors' failure to charge Toese with assaulting an anti-fascist protester named Tim Ledwith in 2018, despite eyewitness accounts and Ledwith's cooperation with law enforcement. Nine months after the initial assault occurred, prosecutors filed an indictment against Toese, which resulted in his conviction.
During his January sentencing hearing, Toese vowed to turn over a new leaf, renouncing the nickname Tiny and the violent confrontations that accompanied that persona.
"But as for me, I'm Tusitala. No more Tiny. There's no more big boy Tiny. No more Samoa prowler in the streets, this and that. It's just Tusitala Toese who I was born and created by God to be," Toese said during the hearing, according to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
The warrant appears to signal Toese is backsliding from his promise of pacifism.
When he returns to Multnomah County—whether by arrest or to turn himself in—Toese must have a probation violation hearing before a judge, Morkert-Shibley says.
For now, Toese's whereabouts remain unknown.