A man who pointed a firearm at antifascist protesters four days ago — and who police say they are looking for — attended a rally in front of Gresham City Hall on Wednesday.
Alan Swinney is a member of the Proud Boys — a group that frequently engages in violence at protests — and was again armed with a handgun at the Gresham demonstration. He said the Portland Police Bureau had spoken with him after he pulled the gun at the downtown Portland demonstration Saturday, and claimed the Multnomah County district attorney’s office is not pressing charges.
“There’s no warrant or anything,” Swinney told OPB. “PPB said they turned it over to the district attorney and they recommended no charges.”
At a rally in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center on Saturday, pro-police and pro-Trump protesters repeatedly engaged in violent clashes with antifascist counterprotesters for more than three hours without police intervention. Protesters fired paintball guns and fireworks at each other. A number of pro-police demonstrators carried handguns and rifles. During one of those fights, Swinney, who is a frequent presence at rallies in Portland and has a reputation for violence, pulled a handgun and pointed it at a crowd of people. Swinney also shot counterdemonstrators with a paintball gun.
When asked for comment on Swinney’s case Wednesday, Portland law enforcement said the case was still open, despite Swinney’s claims. The Portland Police Bureau confirmed that detectives had spoken to Swinney.
“The case is now in the hands of the DA,” said PPB Officer Melissa Newhard.
The district attorney’s office also denied Swinney’s assertions that the case had been dropped, though the agency said the matter was returned to PPB for further details.
“We have requested investigative follow up from them,” said district attorney’s office spokesperson Brent Weisberg. “That work is ongoing.”
Asked to clarify which agency was currently handling the case, Newhard repeated that the case was in the DA’s hands.
Swinney organized the rally in Gresham on Wednesday to oppose a Black Lives Matter flag that is being flown at City Hall. The rallygoers, who carried flags supporting President Trump and police officers, gathered the day after a 17-year-old, pro-police demonstrator allegedly shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where protests for racial justice have surged after police shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake.
Wednesday’s rally was not the first time demonstrators have faced off at Gresham City Hall over the Black Lives Matter flag. The Gresham Outlook reported that a similar rally in July almost ended in violence when an “All Lives Matter” protester unholstered a firearm during a confrontation. The newspaper reported that fellow demonstrators intervened and deescalated the situation.
Gresham police were on scene Wednesday and worked to keep the groups of demonstrators separated.
Portland no longer has a gang unit, but Gresham does pic.twitter.com/bfu2Caw6Ig— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) August 27, 2020
Asked about Swinney at a press conference on Tuesday, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said “we are actually looking for that person.”
While Portland police and the district attorney’s office investigate, another rally is planned for downtown Portland this Saturday.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Jacob Blake’s injuries. He is paralyzed.