Joey Gibson, the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, vowed to fight a felony riot charge in his first Multnomah County court appearance Monday morning, Aug. 19, obj:40475}.
The 35-year-old faces the charge stemming from a May Day brawl at a Northeast Portland bar called Cider Riot!.
Gibson asked the judge for an extension in the case because he wants to get an attorney to represent him. He said he would not take a plea deal and promised to go to trial, if necessary.
Patriot Prayer created a Facebook event for supporters to gather at the Multnomah County Justice Center about an hour before Gibson was to face a judge.
Videos showed people at Cider Riot! using chemical spray and several other people fighting during the May Day brawl. Gibson's lawyer, James Buchal, said Friday none of the videos from the incident show Gibson being violent.
The 35-year-old Patriot Prayer leader previously told KOIN 6 News he believes the felony riot charge is politically motivated and an attempt by the city of Portland to ban him from the streets.
Gibson's court appearance occurred two days after the downtown Saturday protests that he and Patriot Prayer attended. He surrendered to police on Friday and was released after posting $5,000 bail. At the time, Gibson likened the situation in Portland to ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
"This is exactly what the Chinese government is doing to the protesters of Hong Kong; they go after the leaders and they charge them with rioting, even though they're not. It's the exact same thing," he said.
KOIN 6 is a news partner of the Tribune.
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