News & Politics

Oregon Court Affirms Conviction of Journalist Who Pulled Gun to Stop Advancing Antifa Mob

Photo by Mike Strickland with permission

Before Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, Andy Ngo, and any number of people were bullied off the stage and silenced by the rampaging antifa mob, there was Mike Strickland.

Before most people had ever heard of the far-left group, the Portland videographer was recording the antics, ridiculous utterances, and violent actions of this mob, writing about them and selling his videos to news outlets, some of which went national. Strickland put the videos on his YouTube channel called “Laughing at Liberals.

He’s the first person I’d ever heard utter the name “antifa.”

Strickland had been following the far left for years. He started to watch them after the 2010-11 tea party rallies began attracting leftists, such as the International Socialist Organization (ISO), who would show up and attempt to drown out the public (and permitted) rallies.

And the mob was getting bigger and more dangerous.

Since 2003, I have been watching the far-left Portland mob, “Portland Professional Protesters” as I dubbed them, go from a collection of Friday-at-4pm drum circles to a rougher group of Wobblies, anti-war Bush-is-Hitler protesters, Earth Firsters, ISO types, anti-Israel pro-PLO America haters, assorted anarchists, monkey-wrenchers and eco- and animal-terrorist organizations. Many of the usual Portland Professional Protester groups feature fists on their logos and flags like the good communists and socialists they are.

They camped in front of the stores that sold fur and conspired against restaurants selling foie gras – screeching day after day until enough customers were repelled that the legal businesses went under. The city never lifted a finger to help.

They took over Portland City Hall, held illegal protests, closed freeways, halted traffic, and plotted terrorist activities. They firebombed SUV sellers, torched ski lodges, cold-cocked people on the streets, set fires, committed acts of vandalism, and engaged, like the continuing criminal enterprise I believe they are, in the doxxing of, defaming, and lying about people who dared show them on video and talk about their antics.

The City of Portland basically ignored the protesters even when they were under its nose, as was Occupy Portland in 2011 when union-backed “protesters” commandeered and did millions of dollars in damage to a park in front of city hall.

And now they’re a black-clad violent mob.

Mike Strickland put a mirror up to those people and showed them who they were. They didn’t like it. They called him a “snitch.” They admitted in court that they conspired to get him thrown out of “their” public protests. And that’s where the problems started.

In June 2016, at a rally and candlelight vigil for the Orlando terrorist shooting, Strickland was shooting for a client when he was confronted by a group (some of whom knew him) that took offense that he would dare come to such a solemn occasion. Codswallop. As he tried to record, they sought to ruin his video by crowding in front of his camera, screaming, yelling, and talking. They called Strickland – stop me if you’ve heard this before – a “racist” and “homophobe.” (The “racist” label came from when Strickland put together a series of videos exposing a series of classes at the local community college demonizing white people. Fox News featured them. The “homophobe” accusation supposedly came from his deigning to attend the Pulse Nightclub observance.)

One month later in July 2016, at a Black Lives Matter – Don’t Shoot Portland public rally and protest, a mob of antifa and BLM protesters admitted (in court) that they would get Strickland thrown out of their rally because they didn’t want the journalist recording them. Strickland was shooting the event as he usually did with all of his equipment – including his properly concealed pistol, a Glock, for which he had a concealed carry license.

A mob of Antifa members surrounded him, roughed him up, and then told him, “You need to get the f**k out of here!” Even though Strickland backed away from the thugs in the larger protest, he continued to shoot video. As he was leaving, the mob of masked antifa thugs ran toward Strickland and tried to surround him. This time he pulled his pistol to back them off. No shots were ever fired; Strickland’s finger never came close to the trigger. His gambit worked, however. They backed off and Strickland got away from the mob, eventually being arrested by the cops. He was released with a citation.

Charges against him grew from misdemeanors to 21 counts, ten of which were felonies, within hours of Portland politicos getting an earful from one of Strickland’s favorite targets, an anti-Second Amendment group called “Ceasefire Oregon.” The politicos also seemed to take on faith the word of one of the conspirators who insisted Strickland must be a racist, even though he knew better.

Only a couple of his so-called victims were identified, the rest were unknown and described as having masks over their faces and unidentifiable.

For this act of self-defense in defense of his own First Amendment rights, Strickland was ordered to jail.

Though he could have gone to state prison for decades, in the end, Strickland did 40 days in jail. But he was put on five years’ probation, his Second Amendment rights were stripped and he was ordered to surrender some of his First Amendment rights by being forbidden from practicing journalism and recording Portland’s leftist protesters. The mob, courts, and allies had silenced him.

Portland-are journalist Andy Ngo, who has followed Strickland in filming antifa, has been assaulted several times by the antifa. But after seeing Strickland arrested for defending himself, Ngo says he won’t defend himself against antifa’s attacks.

After he made arguments on Strickland’s behalf to the Oregon Court of Appeals in October 2018, attorney Robert Barnes told me that if this can happen in Portland it can happen anywhere:

[R]ight now if you’re in the black bloc what do you think? I can harass somebody and get them arrested if they try to defend themselves.

And then they want people not to defend themselves so that they feel terrified, so that the[y] feel scared, so that they feel frightened, so that their behavior can be publicly and privately coerced. And that’s the danger. And that’s why this case is bigger than one person.

If this can happen to him here it can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it means that nobody is safe. And that’s why this case is so significant.

Barnes has always maintained that the Strickland case has never been a strictly Second Amendment case. He believes it’s a First Amendment case:

In Portland, if you merely show you are armed, you will be arrested, charged with a felony, and banned from public events for “disturbing” ANTIFA with your presence. Ask Mike Strickland.

He continued about how corrosive ignoring antifa has been to Portland and beyond:

There is a reason the media celebrates ANTIFA, stays mute about the black bloc, and political patrons in Portland imprisoned ANTIFA critics rather than lefty violence. They were always heading in this direction once they lost political power: cultural blackmail & street violence.

Barnes says Strickland’s case is bigger than one person because if the conviction against him stands then no one is safe:

This battle will be just the beginning of a long extended battle. If this can happen to him here it can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it means that nobody is safe. And that’s why this case is so significant.

Barnes is right about it being a long battle. The Oregon Appeals Court ruled Wednesday that the lower court ruling convicting Strickland stands.

He made a prediction of what this appeals court ruling really says about the Oregon justice system:

Excuses the @ORDOJ used to justify the jailing of independent reporter, Mike Strickland: that the black bloc violent anarchist group is part of the “protest community” of Portland & that a reporter who is “polarizing” to ANTIFA-types should be banned from filming public events.

Barnes told me he’s filing a motion for reconsideration by the court – and will keep going if he has to.

For more of the story check out my other stories at www.VictoriaTaft.com and look for my series of stories on my “Adult in the Room” podcast coming soon.

Here’s Strickland’s video of what happened that day.