Portland police arrest man videoed pointing rifle during weekend protest

By Jonathan Levinson (OPB)
Aug. 13, 2021 1:28 a.m.

Federal prosecutors also took action against a participant in the weekend’s clashes

The Portland Police Bureau announced Thursday they had arrested the man who walked through downtown Portland pointing what appeared to be a rifle at people Sunday night.

Mark Lee, 23, was charged with three counts of menacing and second degree disorderly conduct. He is currently being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center.


It was later revealed he was carrying an airsoft rifle and not a real rifle, though the two are often nearly impossible to tell apart without a close inspection.

Portland police have charged Mark A. Lee, 23, of Portland with three counts of menacing after he pointed a realistic looking airsoft rifle at several people during a protest on Aug. 8, 2021.

Portland police have charged Mark A. Lee, 23, of Portland with three counts of menacing after he pointed a realistic looking airsoft rifle at several people during a protest on Aug. 8, 2021.

Portland Police Bureau

Lee’s armed march through multiple blocks of downtown happened at the tail end of violent street clashes between members of the far right extremist group the Proud Boys and anti-fascists attempting to chase them out of town. The Proud Boys had been providing security at Waterfront Park for a religious event hosted by fringe Christian songwriter and anti-COVID restriction activist Sean Feucht.

Following Fuecht’s concert, the volunteer security, including notorious Proud Boy and street brawler Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, began charging at counterprotesters in the area, setting set off extended clashes downtown during which the two sides sprayed mace, shot paintballs and threw fireworks. Many of the Proud Boys carried bats or batons.


The Portland police took no action during the brawls citing multiple higher priority calls, including a homicide and a person in crisis. A bureau press release said officers were monitoring the situation and preparing to respond if needed, but the event ended before they could respond.

“Lee called 911 claiming several people were following him,” the bureau said in a statement. “He was instructed to walk to Central Precinct where officers received him, issuing him commands (with which he complied), and confirmed the rifle was not a firearm as defined by state law.”

Officials said it took time to speak with witnesses and identify a victim before they were able to make an arrest. Viral photos and videos from the event showed Lee pointing the weapon at several people, including journalists documenting the protest.

Smaller scale political violence also broke out the day before after Canadian firebrand and homophobic preacher Artur Pawlowski held an event at Waterfront Park.

Attending both rallies and the ensuing violence was Jeff Grace, 62, of Battle Ground, Washington, who is currently facing misdemeanor charges after photos showed him inside the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

A federal judge this week banned Grace from possessing firearms and other weapons after he was seen fighting at the weekend’s clashes. Federal prosecutors said Grace holds a concealed carry permit, was carrying a firearm and expressed concern about his recent activity.

“This modification is necessary in light of Grace’s escalating behavior and his willingness to bring his firearm and other weapons to engage in pre-planned conflicts,” acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing Phillips wrote in his petition to modify Grace’s terms of release.

Prosecutors noted Grace also had traveled to El Paso, Texas, in July to engage in “pre-planned confrontations” with “illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico.”


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Police absent during political violence in downtown Portland

A familiar sight returned to downtown Portland this past weekend: armed far-right groups engaged in violent clashes with counterprotesters. The violence happened during two separate religious events, and brought out a number of familiar faces at protests, including a Southwest Washington man who has been federally charged for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and a man previously convicted of assault at demonstrations.