Lawyers for right-wing protest leader Joey Gibson and one his followers have made good on their plans to sue Portland and Multnomah County, claiming malicious prosecution.
Gibson, who led the Vancouver-based Patriot Prayer, and associate Russell Schultz beat felony riot charges during a trial last July after they were involved in a face-off with left-wing protesters outside a bar in 2019.
The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in Portland, seeks a civil jury trial for unspecified damages against Portland, Multnomah County, Mayor Ted Wheeler and District Attorney Mike Schmidt, as well as Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, former Chiefs Jami Resch and Danielle Outlaw, two prosecutors and the detective who handled the case.
“Amidst the chaos in Portland, Mike Schmidt’s office prioritized the prosecution of Russell and Joey for their political engagement,” lead attorney D. Angus Lee said in a statement.
Lee said he intends to seek the $100 million in damages he listed in an earlier tort claim.
[LAWSUIT: Joey Gibson, Russell Schultz v. City of Portland, Multnomah County, Ted Wheeler, Mike Schmidt et al.]
Circuit Judge Benjamin Souede threw out the charges halfway through the criminal trial against Gibson, 39, and Schultz, 53, ruling that video evidence showed the two had engaged only in heated rhetoric while others hurled drinks and brawled outside the Cider Riot patio in Northeast Portland.
In the new lawsuit, Lee argues that police, prosecutors and political leaders orchestrated the charges to suppress Gibson’s rallies, which frequently spiraled into left-versus-right street fights.
He also pointed to a protest prosecution policy instituted by Schidmt after the 2020 murder of George Floyd, which ordered his staff to stop prosecuting riot cases unless paired with other allegations such as theft or use of force. Schmidt’s office said the policy wasn’t retroactive.
Representatives from the city, county, Police Bureau and District Attorney’s Office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.