Proud Boy Alan Swinney faces Portland protest charges
Well-known right-wing protester and Proud Boys member Alan Swinney is spending the morning in police custody, according to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.
Swinney was arrested by Portland police shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning — weeks after an indictment was issued on September 11. The 50-year-old is facing 12 total charges, including multiple for assault, unlawful use of a weapon, pointing a firearm at another person and unlawful use of mace.
According to the district attorney's office, the indictment alleges Swinney fired a paintball gun at another person at a protest on August 15. That paintball shot caused physical harm to the individual. He is also accused of unlawfully using mace or a similar substance against another person and attempting to assault others on the same day.
Swinney also used the same substance while attending a pro-Trump rally in Portland on August 22. Videos posted on social media show he pointed a paintball gun at counter-protesters on the same day — at one point, firing off a paintball and hurting another person once again.
A short time later, more videos were posted that captured Swinney aiming a real gun into the crowd. No shots were fired, but he is now facing charges stemming from the incident and his other actions throughout the day.
On Tuesday afternoon, Swinney posted to Twitter asking for people to donate to a fund in order to help him with legal fees.
"Help me fight these people," he tweeted. "Every retweet makes a terrorist lose his or her mind."
Swinney's arrest comes the morning after the first presidential debate of 2020, in which Donald Trump declined to condemn violence from his supporters. Instead, he told the Proud Boys to "stand back" and "stand by."
In early September, Swinney was sued for $250,000 after allegedly shooting a woman in the chest with a paintball gun during the August 22 rally in Portland.
According to court documents, Meg McLain says she was peacefully observing a rally outside the Justice Center on the afternoon of August 22. Shortly before 1 p.m., a man at the rally, identified as Alan Swinney, allegedly "opened fire" and intentionally shot her in the chest with a paintball. In the lawsuit she filed on Monday, McLain says this caused her pain, discomfort, distress and interfered with daily life activities.
Court documents included a photo of a paint-stained jacket McLain was wearing at the time along with a photo of a large, red welt on one of McLain's breasts, which she says was a result of the paintball.
McLain attested that she quickly notified police of the incident but they did not arrest Swinney. Documents also included a screenshot of a social media post they say is from Swinney — in which he says, in part, "Whoever's in charge in Portland can f—- all the way off. You're not going to tell me how I can defend myself."
The lawsuit alleged Swinney has shown a previous history of irresponsible gun ownership, such as "traveling to Oregon to organize substantial and purposefully violent rallies and events."
The rally the incident allegedly occured at brought out hundreds of people — eventually prompting federal officers to declare an unlawful assembly at Terry Schrunk Plaza. This followed hours of dueling demonstrations between right-wing and left-wing protesters in the downtown area.
Demonstrations first started outside the Justice Center on SW 3rd Avenue. A rally organized by members of right-wing groups including Proud Boys was met by counter-protesters around 12:15 pm. Several afternoon skirmishes turned violent, with demonstrators hurling rocks and other items at each other and getting into fights.
One protester filmed a woman being punched allegedly by a member of the Proud Boys.
KOIN 6 News is a media partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read their story here.
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