Dozens of people lined Highway 26 in Sandy Tuesday evening, waving flags while shouting support for local police and the re-election of President Donald Trump.
The event was originally promoted as a show of support for local enforcement, meant to honor Sandy Police and other local officers on what would have been National Night Out.
It was a special variation on the flag wave event Dixie Bailey hosts from 6-8 p.m. every Monday on Highway 26 in front of Mt. Hood Cigar Co.
While the majority of the 50-60 people who attended brought signs saying they "back the blue" or displayed American and thin blue line flags, there was also a large presence in support for President Trump, either waving Trump flags, wearing Trump 2020 hats and/or chanting their support.
Several motorists traveling on Highway 26 honked in support. Sandy Backs the Blue co-organizer Dixie Bailey mentioned that there were two minor incidents during the event. One person in a passing car mooned the demonstrators and another man showed up in his underwear to "try and make us look bad," Bailey said.
Some passersby made crude hand gestures or shouted "F*** Trump!" or "Black Lives Matter," while those in attendance responded with "Four more years," "Trump, Trump, Trump," "He's your president, snowflake" or "All Lives Matter."
"I felt like the (flag) wave went really well," Bailey added. "We all really enjoyed supporting our local (law enforcement officers). I was extremely grateful to see so much community support."
Two men came from out of state — Texas and California — and though they weren't invited by Bailey or the pro-police group Sandy Backs the Blue, they decided to come out to show their support.
One was Andrew "Black Rebel" Duncomb, who was reportedly filming the unrest in downtown Portland on July 25 at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center when he was allegedly stabbed by a protestor who identifies as being part of the Antifa movement.
Duncomb said activists had alerted others to his presence and identity before he confronted one of the men who'd been following his group. He said he was stabbed in the back during that incident.
After that experience in Portland, Duncomb said he feels more welcome in Sandy. He followed his "fellow patriot" Alan Swinney to a previous Sandy flag wave.
"I think in small communities like this, (these events) encourage people to fight back and take this country back," Duncomb said. "We are under attack. I can't even walk downtown Portland without being attacked."
Swinney expressed similar sentiment, saying "America is under attack and we need to try to do something to stand up for it."
Initial reporting on this event linked both Swinney and Duncomb to the Proud Boys, a far-right organization described as a hate group by members of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Duncomb has since clarified that he is not a member of the Proud Boys and claimed that this association with the group is what contributed to him "being targeted and eventually stabbed in Portland on (July 25)."
It is unknown if Duncomb ever personally associated with the group, but a post on the group's website dated May 10, 2017, portrayed him as the "Proud Boy of the Week."
According to the Anti-Defamation League's website:
"The Proud Boys represent an unconventional strain of American right-wing extremism. While the group can be described as violent, nationalistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic, its members represent a range of ethnic backgrounds, and its leaders vehemently protest any allegations of racism.
"Their founder, Gavin McInnes, went so far as to file a defamation lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center when the SPLC designated the Proud Boys a hate group. In McInnes' own words, the Proud Boys are a "pro-western fraternity," essentially a drinking club dedicated to male bonding, socializing and the celebration all things related to western culture. In reality, the Proud Boys bear many of the hallmarks of a gang, and its members have taken part in multiple acts of brutal violence and intimidation."
Aside from the Swinney and Duncomb, a few other out-of-towners came to support Sandy Backs the Blue.
One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, came from Gresham for the event. She said she is moving to Sandy soon and is "excited to get into a community that doesn't support hate and violence."
"Gresham claims it's not a city that values hate," she explained. "I'm totally insulted they're flying the terrorist Black Lives Matter flag. I came out here to back the blue. I have all the respect in the world for the police."
Another woman, Cindy, who refrained from giving her full name, came from Rhododendron to "show support for my country, support for my president and support for the police."
While dozens came out to the event, Juli Hager, co-organizer of Sandy Backs the Blue mentioned she had hoped to see members of the local anti-racism group, the Sandy STAND UP Movement, there.
Bailey said in an earlier interview that the event was open to all, was to be "non-political" and that leaders of the STAND UP Movement had been invited.
STAND UP leaders told The Post they'd informed their members of the event and made attending the flag wave an individual member decision.
"I wish the other group would come out," Hager said as the flag wave was kicking off. "To have people at odds doesn't sit well with me."
"I chose not to go because I did not want to stand alongside Proud Boys and those supporting them in this community," Sandy STAND UP co-organizer Lindsay Polk said. "It goes against what I (we) are trying to change in Sandy."
Sandy STAND UP co-organizer Tracy George echoed Polk's comments, saying "I did not go personally because with the presence of [Proud Boys]. It did not feel like a safe situation to put myself or my children in."
Other members of the STAND UP group and community members have expressed similar concerns about the Proud Boys' presence in Sandy.
Since the first rumblings of people associated with the Proud Boys surfaced in Sandy, the city and Sandy Police Department have been receiving calls and emails from concerned community members.
These communications led the city to release this statement on Aug. 5:
"The Sandy City Council has heard the concerns raised in our community about the recent presence of individuals who may be associated with groups espousing hatred, bigotry, and violence," the statement read. "Let there be no confusion on where the City stands: as stated in Council Resolution 2020-19, the City of Sandy condemns racism unequivocally, and supports building a community 'connected by a shared commitment to mutual respect, understanding, and dignity.' While everyone has the right to express themselves freely, we stated in our resolution that fighting racism is 'a responsibility incumbent upon all Americans.' That means we each have a duty to speak out and actively work to advance the values of equality and justice. We have done so, and we will continue to do so."
The post also included a copy of its recent resolution, which can be found online.
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