3 arrested as Joey Gibson visits Occupy ICE camp
Video taken around 7 p.m. on Friday, July 20, shows three people with their hands in the air calmly crossing the caution tape surrounding the main entrance to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Southwest Macadam Avenue.
Two of the demonstrators were handcuffed and taken inside by federal police, while a third who appeared to be using a mobility device was also led inside the building.
Eyewitness accounts suggest the three demonstrators were sympathetic to the #OccupyICE movement, not the Washington State candidate for U.S. Senate, Joey Gibson, and his band of followers known as Patriot Prayer.
In a social media video announcing his trip to the ICE protesters' outpost, Gibson said his goal was to "spend more time talking and connecting and figuring out we believe."
"I'm all for free speech and your right to protest. I'm not there to oppose anyone, I'm not there to yell at anyone. I'm not there to cause any problems whatsoever at all," he said. "I just want to see what's going on down there."
In response, anti-ICE organizers called the entourage "unwelcome guests" and asked their backers to swarm with "banners, music, signs, bubbles, vuvuzelas" in solidarity against Gibson and Patriot Prayer.
But by Portland standards — where rioting between the left and right is not uncommon — the standoff on Friday was practically tranquil. No injuries were reported, and most on scene appeared to be content with chanting, shouting or live streaming.
Mayor Ted Wheeler deployed a half-dozen or so officers from the Portland Police Bureau to the standoff — retreating on earlier pledges to keep local law enforcement away from the boisterous tent city.
"Today I met with Chief Outlaw to discuss the planned counter-demonstration near the ICE facility," Wheeler said in a statement. "Given recent past incidents of violence between groups of demonstrators, I asked Portland Police to maintain a presence near the facility to ensure those present can safely express their First Amendment rights."
The three detained on Friday ups the total arrests at the camp to 22, though most people who are taken into custody there are cited and then immediately released.
In other news, a Clark County Sheriff's deputy was fired on Friday after The Columbian newspaper reported she had been wearing and selling clothing advocating for the Proud Boys, another far-right group making inroads in the Rose City.