Right-wing brawler 'Tiny' Toese appears in court
A notorious participant in right-wing rallies resulting in brawls with counter-protesters has been arraigned on charges related to one such event in Northeast Portland last August.
Tusitala "Tiny" Toese is facing 11 felony charges stemming from an Aug. 22, 2021, Proud Boys rally in Portland's Parkrose neighborhood that devolved into violent clashes with counter-protesters.
Appearing in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Wednesday, March 23, Toese pleaded "not guilty" to all 11 charges. His charges include three counts of second-degree assault with a weapon, two counts of third-degree assault, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of riot and two counts of first-degree criminal mischief. Toese originally faced an additional count of second-degree assault with a weapon that has since been removed.
Toese, 25, has participated for years in events organized by far-right groups, including Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.
It was the first time he had appeared in court since his charges were announced in January. He previously was being held in custody in Washington state on unrelated charges. Toese was extradited from Washington on Tuesday, March 22.
The Aug. 22 clash in which Toese's crimes allegedly took place was along Northeast 122nd Avenue near the parking lot of a former Kmart, where a rally associated with the Proud Boys began. The rally was initially planned for Portland's waterfront, but organizers moved it after it became apparent that counter-protesters would respond to the event, according to an affidavit from a deputy district attorney with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
Toese was a primary organizer of the rally and acted as the event's emcee, speaking to attendees and introducing other speakers, the prosecutor wrote.
As larger numbers of counter-protesters began showing up to the rally, clashes between rally-goers and counter-protesters ensued.
Combatants set off fireworks, threw projectiles, used pepper spray and fired paintball and airsoft guns at each other.
Toese is accused of assaulting a person in a truck who he had identified as "antifa," the prosecutor wrote. The term refers to a member of a left-wing anti-fascist group. The person had shields and cases of water in the bed of the truck, according to the prosecutor.
After approaching the truck, Toese allegedly used a bat to break the driver's side window. He then signaled and gestured to other rally-goers to approach the truck, inciting them to attack the truck and assault the driver, the prosecutor wrote.
Responding rally-goers broke out the other windows of the truck, popped its tires and proceeded to attack the driver. At least three rally-goers fired paintballs into the truck at the driver as he attempted to hide inside the vehicle, according to the prosecutor. Toese allegedly stood behind the group firing paintballs while shouting for other rally-goers to join the attack.
One rally-goer climbed into the truck and began kicking the driver and striking him repeatedly with an armored motorcycle glove, according to the prosecutor.
The driver eventually ran from the truck after being assisted by a rally-goer, the prosecutor wrote. After being shoved violently from behind by another rally-goer, the driver escaped to an area of the parking lot where most of the counter-protesters had gathered.
At multiple points during the rally and clashes, Toese served as a kind of ringleader, leading rally-goers in chants and giving them directions about where to stand and whether to fall back or attack counter-protesters, according to the affidavit.
At one point, Toese allegedly stopped to address a group of journalists and people live-streaming the incident, the prosecutor wrote.
"That's our message to you antifa: the Americans are coming out and they're sick and tired of this (expletive). If we have to fight fire with fire, we're going to (expletive) do it. (Expletive) antifa," Toese allegedly told the group.
Before leaving the scene, Toese allegedly led a group of rally-goers in attempts to flip over a decommissioned ambulance that had shown up with counter-protesters early on. The group managed to flip over the van after initial unsuccessful attempts, the prosecutor said.
Named as a co-defendant in the case against Toese, stemming from the Aug. 22 brawl, is Oregon City resident Miles Furrow.
Furrow, 41, was previously arraigned in January. He is facing three counts of second-degree assault with a weapon, two counts of third-degree assault, one count of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of riot. Similar to Toese, Furrow originally was charged with an additional count of second-degree assault with a weapon that has since been removed. Â
Weeks after the Northeast Portland brawl, Toese allegedly was involved in another violent incident between ideologically opposed groups on Sept. 4 that followed a rally against vaccines in Olympia, Washington, the prosecutor wrote.
Toese reportedly received a gunshot wound to his ankle from an unknown person after chasing a group of counter-protesters.
Based on Toese's prior criminal convictions and the events of the Aug. 22 brawl, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has requested that Toese be held in custody without bail pending a trial.
Toese is scheduled to have a call with the court related to his detention on Friday, March 25.
A trial date has not yet been set.
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