Categories: World

Proud Boy Arrested On Six Felony Charges In Portland


The morning after President Trump gave a shoutout to the Proud Boys at the first presidential debate, a member of the controversial right-wing group was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on 12 charges, including multiple felonies for assault and unlawful use of a weapon, and misdemeanors for pointing a firearm at another person, menacing and the unlawful use of tear gas.

Alan Swinney, a “Proud Boy” member, pepper-sprays counter-demonstrators as Right-wing … [+] demonstrators, many armed, clash violently with Black Lives Matter and Antifa counter-demonstrators, in Portland, Oregon.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Key Facts

Alan Swinney was taken into custody by Portland police around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a Multnomah County online booking database.

Swinney, a 50-year-old self-identified member of the Proud Boys, is being charged with multiple offenses for alleged crimes on two separate days of demonstrations in downtown Portland.

An indictment filed on September 11 alleges Swinney, among other charges, used a paintball gun on August 15 and August 22 to cause physical injury to another person, and on the latter day, pointed a revolver at someone “which placed that person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting previously reported Swinney was present at the heated August 22 rally outside Portland’s Multnomah County Justice Center, where far-right activists clashed with protesters who have staged daily demonstrations since the death of George Floyd in May.

Video footage from an OPB reporter appears to show Swinney pointing a gun.

The charges come a day after President Trump dodged a challenge from moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists during Tuesday’s debate, telling the Proud Boys to “stand by and stand back” and blaming left-wing groups for violence.

According to Chuck Tanner of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, who studies white nationalism, the Proud Boys have taken Trump’s words as a “battle call,” adopting “stand back and stand by” as a slogan that’s since been made into a logo and printed on T-shirts.

Crucial Quote

“They take it as encouragement,” said Tanner. “This is a violent, racist organization that’s already built up a track record of street fights.”

What To Watch For

Swinney’s arraignment is scheduled for October 1.

Key Background

This is not the first time the Proud Boys has run into trouble with the law. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, who launched the boys club for “Western chauvinists” in 2016 after departing from the media company he cofounded, Vice, cut ties with the group in 2018 as seven group members faced charges related to a street brawl in New York. Two of the members were later sentenced to four years in prison for attempted gang assault, attempted assault and other charges. Over the summer, Proud Boys members have shown up at Black Lives Matter rallies across the country to confront left-wing activists. This past weekend, the group organized a rally in Portland, leading Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) to declare a state of emergency.

Further Reading

“‘Stand Back And Stand By’: Trump Doesn’t Condemn White Supremacists, But Gives Shoutout To Right-Wing Proud Boys” (Forbes)

“Who Are The Proud Boys, The Group Behind The Controversial Portland Rally?” (Forbes)

“A Day of Protest in Portland as ‘Proud Boys’ Converge on the City” (The New York Times)

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