PORTLAND, Ore. — The arraignment of Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson on Monday morning was mostly uneventful. The only proceeding was to shift Gibson's court appearance to a later date in August so he can get a lawyer and be more prepared.
Before the arraignment, though, there were strong words between a handful of Gibson supporters and some counter-protesters.
"Get out of here! Get out of Portland! You are a predator!" yelled one man as he passed Gibson on the courthouse steps Monday morning.
A number of other people honked horns and yelled out their windows.
Gibson had his own supporters present, holding American flags and signs.
Gibson is facing a felony riot charge related to a fight that broke out on May Day in front of Cider Riot, a pub in northeast Portland. He said the charge is baseless.
"I want people to understand that if you're walking on the sidewalk and you're not breaking the law, you should never go to jail for that, ever. So it's very important people understand that. So there's no way I'm going to plead guilty. There's no way that's going to happen," Gibson said.
When asked why he went to the pub on May Day, he said he went wanting to be challenged.
"My intention was to be an American and walk on a sidewalk in a place where I knew it would be challenged. I did challenge, I challenged them to do something, to kick me off the sidewalk, because I knew that was my constitutional right," Gibson said.
Gibson said his group, Patriot Prayer, stands for freedom of speech and not violence. Meantime, groups with ties to white nationalism, like the Proud Boys, have been seen at some of Gibson's rallies.
"I will say there are a lot of bad people that show up to these rallies on all sides but they don't support my message, they don't support me. They just want to show up and use the platform, and so that is a problem and I'm the first one to admit that," Gibson said.
While Gibson said Neo-Nazis are not welcome at his rallies, he said it's a free country.
"I don’t know where they are, these Neo-Nazis, right? Where are they? I haven't seen any," Gibson said. "They say Proud Boys are Neo-Nazis. That's a really diverse crowd, right, for being Neo-Nazis, the leader being Black-Cuban?"
Gibson was referring to Enrique Tarrio, who became chairman of the Proud Boys last year.
Gibson's next court date is scheduled for August 27.