More than a year after violently clashing with Portland anti-fascists in the summer of 2021, a judge found Proud Boy Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, 25, guilty on 10 counts in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Toese, a regular presence at violent protests in the Pacific Northwest, was charged in January 2022 with five counts of assault, including assault with a weapon, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of riot and two counts of criminal mischief. He was acquitted of one of the assault charges.
During a right-wing rally in Portland’s Parkrose neighborhood on Aug. 22, 2021, Toese stood on a truck bed in front of a big American flag and spoke to a crowd using inflammatory language. He referred to trans people as perverts and to members of the Proud Boys who had been charged for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection as “political prisoners,” according to an affidavit filed by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office in March 2022.
While the early hours of the rally were tense but peaceful, violence erupted later that afternoon. Counterprotesters dressed mostly in black exchanged volleys of paintballs and bear mace. Some people in the crowd threw mortar fireworks near a gas station and others shouted at journalists.
Toese was among those leading the violence, according to the affidavit. He yelled to others present that a person in a truck was “Antifa” and can be seen on video gesturing toward the vehicle with a baseball bat. Members of his group began breaking out windows, popping tires and attacking the driver, prosecutors said.
Toese first faced criminal charges for similar behavior in 2017, when he punched a counterprotester in the face, unprovoked. He pleaded guilty to harassment and was placed on probation. He was also charged with assault in 2018 but fled to American Samoa. Upon his return to Portland, he was placed on probation again, though he failed to comply with the terms of the probation.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 24.
Jonathan Levinson contributed reporting.