News & Politics

Black Portlander Who Changed His Mind About Riots Sets Up Fundraiser for the Cops

Black Portlander Who Changed His Mind About Riots Sets Up Fundraiser for the Cops
AP Photo/John Rudoff

Last month, I reported about Gabe Johnson, the black man who lives in Portland, a stone’s throw away from the scene of the nightly riots. He believed the media line that the protests were mostly peaceful, until he attended and tried to put up an American flag. He has since done a complete 180, and believes that Portland must do everything in its power to bring the riots to an end. Now, he tells me he’s set up a fundraiser for the Portland Police Chaplains, and even got invited to attend a Town Hall with Mayor Ted Wheeler on race relations in the city.

Black Portlander Changes His Mind About the Nightly Protests After He Attends One

Johnson told me the Town Hall went in a direction he could not possibly have expected. “The town hall was basically race relations in Portland,” he said. “One of the things that people have heard about is Reimagine Oregon. I’ve heard that name being thrown out there. I’m like what the hell’s Reimagine Oregon. All right, and what I found out is it’s a group basically by Millennials for Millennials that are not inclusive of anybody. This whole movement, protest, whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t include me and it doesn’t include anyone older than me. I couldn’t believe what was coming out of this woman’s mouth at the time that I heard it.”

The Reimagine Oregon webpage begins its About section with:

Dismantling systemic racism must happen in our lifetimes. Systemic racism is a virus that has plagued America from its very first days. While it took 400 years – or over 20,000 weeks – to get to this point, we believe that Oregon is capable of starting this important work. Our children do not have to inherit the social ills we’ve been born into.

The laundry list of demands includes Marxism-inspired policies based on redistribution of power, critical theory, and collective salvation.


After the town hall, Johnson said he received messages of support for his opposition to the radical demands. “I get this message from this woman,” he said, “I won’t give her name, but a prominent black family here in Portland. I couldn’t believe the first thing that came out of her mouth. She’s like, now I want to thank you so much for saying all the things that our community doesn’t want you to say. We all know it’s true, and people want to just keep it in the dark.”

Johnson said emphatically that this exclusion will cause the movement to fail. “It’s destined to fail and we’re seeing that right now,” he said. “Well, when you when you don’t take lessons of the past you’re destined to repeat them. Beyond that, their voice is not a mature voice. It’s one that’s going to further hurt the black community because, eventually, people are going to get exhausted. It’s going to face exhaustion because there’s no leadership. There’s no real foundation. It’s mayhem in the streets and eventually it will be squashed.”

Shocking Video Shows Young Children in Portland With Signs Saying F*** the Police

As a result of his recent experiences, Johnson has decided to become a force for positive change. He’s started an apparel line, and has pledged a portion of the proceeds to the Portland Police Chaplaincy. It’s called Stand For Justice, and features t-shirts and hoodies with a patriotic image of the flag.


Johnson says the flag was important to him as a Marine vet, and having gone down to the protests previously with his American flag. “I think we’re just now getting started,” he said, “especially since I did that town hall the other day. A lot more is clear as my eyes have been opened to who’s actually been left out in this whole thing.”

Shirt for pro-police fundraiser in Portland.

The listing at reads,

This patriotic design was inspired by Marine Veteran Gabriel Johnson of Portland, OR. Johnson lives in Downtown Portland, and recently took a ‘Stand for Justice’ by standing with the American flag in front of the Federal Court House in order to deliver a message of Unity and Justice among the rioters who were attempting to destroy Portland’s landmark. Johnson – a veteran and former US contractor – has spent over 20 years serving his country, and believes that part of serving America is standing up for justice and against injustice. This non partisan design is more than just a shirt, it is a way to give back. Johnson believes that those who are under-represented and over-worked should benefit, which is why a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this design will go directly to the Portland Police Bureau Chaplains. The PPB Chaplains provide essential services to the officers who serve in our communities. Please…. Stand for Justice and help us make a difference in our community.


Johnson told me why the Chaplains would receive the donations:

After contacting Portland Police Bureau, they thought that the chaplains would be the best to give support to, because chaplains aren’t paid and just like in the military, chaplains are generally the first people that are in touch with those that are in distress. A lot of times people don’t want to go to professionals and just want to seek out the chaplain. Oftentimes they’re the first person that will help them. They take officers out to lunches or dinners. They help them and their families. It’s all based on donation. And so I’ve got a friend who’s a Portland Police Officer. I talk to her just about every day about what’s going on. It’s going to give some funding where traditionally police don’t have funding. We talk about defunding the police and taking things away from them. This is something where we can actually give something back.

Click here to hear the entire interview with Gabe Johnson.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.


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