This past June, masked thugs organized under the banner of anti-fascism, or “antifa,” and beat up conservative journalist Andy Ngo and others in Portland, Ore. In one particularly gruesome attack, local conservative Adam Kelly got his head busted open with a baton. He suffered a concussion and needed 25 staples to close the wounds. Gage Halupowski, the 24-year-old man who pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in the attack, was sentenced to 70 months (5.83 years) in prison on Friday.
“Antifa militant Gage Halupowski sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison for striking a man on head from behind w/a baton during riot,” Ngo tweeted, sharing the breaking news Friday evening. “He was masked at the time & assaulted an officer while trying to escape. His lawyer says sentence is too severe.”
Ngo shared images of Kelly’s head after the baton attack.
Breaking: Antifa militant Gage Halupowski sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison for striking a man on head from behind w/a baton during riot. He was masked at the time & assaulted an officer while trying to escape. His lawyer says sentence is too severe. https://t.co/g0VNdtPYcx pic.twitter.com/aSNYum9xzV
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) November 2, 2019
Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero said both Kelly and Halupowski were lucky the conservative victim survived his injuries. She described the attack as “completely unexplainable, completely avoidable and didn’t need to happen,” Oregon Live reported.
As Ngo said, Halupowski’s attorney Edward Kroll attacked the nearly six-year sentence, calling it “one of the harshest sentences I’ve seen for someone with no criminal background and young age.” Kroll admitted that Halupowski had made “a really terrible decision” and acknowledged that the antifa thug had been captured on camera, but he claimed that at least two other people hit Kelly with batons, as well.
Marrero defended the sentence as appropriate due to the nature of Kelly’s injuries. She noted that first-degree assault — which carried a potential 90-month sentence — and riot charges were initially considered in the case. Halupowski may have gotten off easy. She also insisted that another person has been indicted and more people are under investigation for the same attack and other attacks in the June 29 demonstrations.
“My office has individuals charged on both sides of the political spectrum,” Marrero said. “We are not picking sides based on political affiliation, political views or anything like that.”
Indeed, a harsh sentence for antifa thugs who cause this kind of injury should have nothing to do with politics. These rioters claim that their actions are justified because they are “punching fascists.” They demonize their political opponents by comparing them to Hitler and then engage in the kind of red-shirt tactics the fascists and other totalitarians employed to take power. Anyone who violently assaults other people should face legal consequences, and political ideals are no defense for criminal activity.
Furthermore, it seems Kelly was coming to the defense of a man who was himself coming to the defense of an innocent bystander who had a personal dispute with some antifa activists.
As Oregon Live reported in July, local man Sam Resnick said he was walking toward a Starbucks when antifa activists shouted slurs at him and shoved him. He knew them from a “simmering personal dispute with them” but seems not to have instigated the altercation. They attempted to punch him and “someone put their hands on me” from behind, he said.
Another man, later identified as John Blum tried to pull Resnick’s assailants back, saying, “We don’t do that here.” According to Resnick, “the mob just started attacking” Blum for his attempt to prevent violence. Yet other videos have shown Blum holding a black baton himself.
Once Blum was surrounded, getting struck multiple times in the head, Kelly came to his aid, himself getting struck repeatedly in the head with one or more batons.
CONTENT WARNING: Police have declared a civil disturbance after a violent brawl broke out between left- and right-wing protesters today. Video by Sergio Olmos/Underscore. Full story: https://t.co/dJMlSoDkg6 pic.twitter.com/fx8hELNziW
— Portland Tribune (@ThePortlandTrib) June 29, 2019
Ngo was also assaulted that afternoon.
A GoFundMe fundraiser raised $14,317 to pay for Kelly’s medical care after the assault.
Liberals who go on and on about the threats of white supremacy should also condemn antifa violence. Attacks like this are despicable, and Americans should condemn political violence, no matter the motivation.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.