PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A member of the far right-wing group the Proud Boys was convicted Thursday of inciting and then participating in a brawl in east Portland in 2021.
A judge found Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, 26, guilty on 10 counts in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Toese, a regular presence at violent protests in the Pacific Northwest, was charged in January 2022 with five counts of assault, including assault with a weapon, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of riot and two counts of criminal mischief. He was acquitted on one of the assault charges.
During a right-wing rally in Portland on Aug. 22, 2021, Toese stood on a truck bed in front of an American flag and spoke to a crowd using inflammatory language. He made derogatory comments about transgender people and referred to members of the Proud Boys who had been charged for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection as “political prisoners,” according to an affidavit filed by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
He later egged on counterprotesters before the two groups exchanged volleys of paintballs and bear mace. Some people threw mortar fireworks and others shouted at journalists.
Toese was among those leading the violence, according to the affidavit. He yelled that a person in a truck was “Antifa” and then can be seen on video gesturing toward the vehicle with a baseball bat. Members of his group then broke windows, popped tires and attacked the driver, prosecutors said.
Toese faced criminal charges for similar behavior in 2017, when he punched a counterprotester in the face, unprovoked. He pleaded guilty to harassment and was sentenced to probation. He was also charged with assault in 2018 but fled to American Samoa. Upon his return to Portland, he was placed on probation again, though he failed to comply with the terms.
His sentencing is scheduled for March 24.