Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeling, protests
The fatal shooting of a supporter of Patriot Prayer in Portland, Oregon, this weekend shone a spotlight on the right-wing group based in Washington state and its founder, Joey Gibson.
The name of the victim in Saturday’s shooting was not immediately released. Portland police tried to determine Sunday whether the shooting was related to clashes between Trump supporters going through the city in a caravan after a rally and Black Lives Matter protesters engaged in their own demonstration Saturday night.
Gibson described the victim as a “good friend” and supporter of Patriot Prayer, a loosely organized band with a distaste for big government but lots of love for the red, white and blue.
“Patriot Prayer is about fighting corruption, big government, and tyranny using God for strength and the power of love,” Gibson wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “Patriot prayer is about using the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception.”
Latest news: ‘Patriot Prayer’ backer dead after protesters, Trump supporters clash in embattled Portland
Gibson’s website has a Patriot Prayer link. Visitors to the site can find a schedule of rallies, register their cell numbers to get notifications of events and buy T-shirts – in black or gray.
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Figuring prominently is a quote from Thomas Paine: “The duty of a true Patriot is to protect his country from its government.”
The group made a splash in San Francisco three years ago before canceling plans for a controversial “free speech” march and rally planned near the Golden Gate Bridge. Gibson complained that the group had been unfairly pegged as white supremacist.
Hours before the shooting in Portland, the group took up the cause of the Tip Top Tavern in the Patriot Prayer’s home base of Vancouver, Washington, about 10 miles north of Portland.
“Due to the constant intimidation and harassment by the state Regarding COVID-19 proclamations, tiptop found it impossible to stay open without the risk of losing their liquor license which happens to be the oldest in State of Washington,” Gibson wrote on his website. He urged supporters to “bring signs or American flags and support freedom.” He promised music, speeches, chili dogs and beer.
The group planned a boat event in Vancouver for Sunday afternoon.
“Bring your boat with American Flags and come celebrate freedom on the Columbia River!” the website announced. “The bigger the flags the better! Be creative.”
After the shooting, Gibson said on his Facebook page that he would not attend. The fate of the event was not immediately clear.
The group has rallied Trump supporters for demonstrations in Portland
since 2017. Counterprotesters confronting Patriot Prayer and other right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters is nothing new to the city.
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