One of two members of the Proud Boys in Oregon has been arraigned in connection with an assault that left one man injured after he was called an anti-gay slur.
Timothy Ledwith claims that Tusitala John “Tiny” Toese and Donovan Flippo, both members of the Proud Boys, attacked him in Portland on June 8 last year, after Ledwith reacted to the pair shouting pro-Trump statements from their truck.
“They were yelling: ‘Support Trump, build the wall,’” Ledwidh told the Guardian, to which he responded with a profanity.
Toese and Flippo exited the vehicle and came after Ledwith.
“They were calling me a faggot and slinging epithets at me,” said Ledwith. “Tiny walked over calmly and… punched me in the face. I’m like, half his size. I was not a threat to them.”
“I’m 34 years old, not 17. This is not a thing that happens to me day-to-day.”
Ledwith was knocked to the ground in the attack, cutting open his lip. He testified this Wednesday before a grand jury in Multnomah County, sharing his side of the case.
Flippo was arrested Tuesday in connection with the assault and pled not guilty on Wednesday. He faces both third-degree assault and fourth-degree assault charges. His partner, Toese, also faces assault charges but has not yet been arrested.
The Proud Boys are a far-right men-only violent organization founded by Gavin McInnis and named after a song that was cut from the Disney film Aladdin.
McInnies has defended the use of the slur “faggot” in connection with assaults, calling the term “handy,” and saying, “It’s very rarely used against gays.”
Both Toese and Flippo are also supporters of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group that has held several protests in Portland over the last two years, and many of which have led to violence.
Many Portland LGBTQ residents have been victims of assault in the last several weeks, and fear that members of Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys are involved. One in particular, James Melanson, was also assaulted and called an anti-gay slur by his attackers in an attack similar to that faced by Ledwith.
Lindsay Schubiner, program director of the Western States Center – who is representing Ledwith and another person in conjunction with the attack – said in a statement, “Today’s development is an overdue but highly encouraging indication that local law enforcement is taking Proud Boy violence seriously.”
“It should be the first in a series of steps to counter violence and intimidation by racist and sexist organizations active in our region,” Schubiner added.