Alt-right rally leader Joey Gibson won’t heed Portland mayor’s plea
Vancouver’s Joey Gibson says he’s not halting his free speech, pro-Trump event in Portland after the city’s mayor asked organizers to hold off.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s request comes shortly after a hate-filled attack on a MAX train that left two men dead and one man injured.
“The mayor is trying to use this as an opportunity to keep Conservatives out of Portland,” Gibson told KIRO Radio’s Tom and Curley Show. “He’s afraid for us to come down there because we have a clear and simple message about freedom, about getting rid of the nanny sates, about how we don’t have to have high taxes and regulations. That scares him because they are crazy down in Portland. The government controls everything.”
Gibson is organizing a Trump Free Speech Rally in Portland on June 4 — nearly a week after the gruesome incident aboard a MAX light rail train in which Jeremy Christian allegedly verbally attacked two teenage Muslim girls. He hurled racist speech targeting various ethnicities and religions. Three men rose to defend the girls. Christian allegedly attacked and stabbed them all. On Tuesday, Mayor Wheeler told Oregon Public Broadcasting that Gibson’s event, so soon after the incident, is not responsible.
“Just because something is constitutional and legal doesn’t make it responsible. Given where this city is now, in terms of the mourning we’re going through collectively, the anger that is currently focused on what I would describe as the alt-right, this is not the right time for those groups to come into our community and hold a rally.”
Gibson objects to Wheeler’s statements. He argues that his alt-right event is not related to Christian’s hateful actions.
“(Wheeler) went up on TV and he literally connected us to Jeremy Christian, which is extremely irresponsible,” Gibson said. “He said that I’m going to go up there and I’m going to have hate speech and I’m going to be bigoted. That’s a complete lie … all he did was make it worse … Jeremy Christian has nothing to do with us.”
Law enforcement, Gibson and more rallies
According to Det. Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, these types of events – while constitutionally protected – are apt to draw people like Christian.
“Anytime you get a crowd of people together, especially when you have opinions on both sides, you are going draw people with slight mental health issues; you’re going to draw radicals on both sides,” Troyer told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don Show. “Those types of events tend to bring those people in, and it only takes one or two of them to cause a giant problem.”
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist followed up by saying that he felt what the Portland mayor said was a good idea.
“I think he’s doing the right thing and going, ‘Hey, this is not a great time for this,’” Lindquist said. “Just basically appealing to their own sense of what is reasonable. That is a better course of action than pulling a legal injunction.”
But Gibson said he has no intention of calling off his Portland event. He is also part of a follow-up event in Seattle on June 10 – a March Against Sharia demonstration at Westlake Park — which he intends to lead as well.
“Standing against Sharia Law is standing up for Muslims, because Muslims are the number one victims to Sharia law,” Gibson said.