“No single piece of video… tells the whole story of what happened outside of Cider Riot on May 1,” said Lavin. “And taken together the evidence as a whole paints a picture that is somewhat ambiguous in certain ways, and subject to multiple interpretations, each of which is arguably reasonable.”
Patriot Prayer was formed in 2016 and claims to defend the interests of American Christians. The group has been called “violent extremists” by The Southern Poverty Law Center. Gibson has specifically denounced white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, but events organized by Patriot Prayer have been known to attract members of such groups.
“What the community saw from Mr. Gibson and his crew on May 1st went beyond the right to freedom of speech,” said Cider Riot attorney Juan Chavez to The Portland Mercury. “That right does not allow anyone to engage in conduct that results in harassment, violence, or menacing without consequence.”
In October, reports suggested that Gibson and Patriot Prayer were using an apparently non-existent “church” to funnel donations into legal funds. The group had earlier been banned from several online crowdfunding companies and payment processing services.
Gibson previously launched an unsuccessful attempt to move the trial away from the Portland area, claiming that a left-wing bias in the area would result in an unfair trial. Gibson and several co-defendants also face felony riot charges related to the incident. The trial date of the lawsuit is yet to be announced.
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