- On Saturday, three groups held separate protests in downtown Portland: the HimToo movement, the Proud Boys, and Rose City Antifa.
- The gatherings turned violent when the Antifa group began marching toward the two others, resulting in eight injuries and three arrests.
- Among those injured was journalist Andy Ngo, who was admitted to the hospital with a brain bleed after being attacked.
- Ngo’s situation was met with mixed reactions online, with some condemning the violence against him and others arguing that he purposely brought the attack upon himself.
Three planned protests in Portland turned violent on Saturday in what police described as “a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly” that lead to eight injuries and three arrests.
The protests, which were sponsored by different organizations, all started at different areas in downtown Portland. One was held by the Proud Boys, a right-wing group that describes themselves as “western chauvinists.” The HimToo Movement, which fights against false rape allegations, held another. The final protest was planned by Rose City Antifa, an anti-fascist group that gathered to counterprotest the others.
According to tweets from people at the protests, they all began around noon and remained calm for the first half hour. The situation grew tense when Rose City Antifa members began moving towards the other groups. It is unclear from the tweets when exactly the groups met, but when they did, violence broke out. Journalists covering the protests began sharing photos and videos of people punching and attacking each other.
One video, in particular, shows conservative writer Andy Ngo, who is currently an editor for the online magazine Quillette, being assaulted and drenched in milkshakes, eggs, and silly string. In the video, people who recognized Ngo can be heard shouting things like, “f*** you, Andy!” and “go home, Andy Ngo!”
Portland Police intervened, warning the public that protests had become violent and advising them to leave. They later declared the gatherings “a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly” and sent “riot control agents” to control the area.
PPB has observed violent activity. They are advising crowd to get out of the street and travel into Lownsdale Park Square.— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 29, 2019
The bureau released a statement Saturday evening, providing details about the protests and the aftermath that it caused.
“During today’s events, there were multiple assaults reported, as well as projectiles thrown at demonstrators and officers,” the statement reads. “The medics treated eight people, including three police officers during the event.”
The statement also notes that from the incident, three individuals were arrested. Their charges ranged from assault to harassment.
Andy Ngo, who was in downtown Portland covering the protests, documented his day on his Twitter account. Just after 1:30 p.m., when the protests began to turn violent, Ngo shared a video of himself sitting on the ground bleeding.
“Um…I just got beat up by the crowd, no police at all,” Ngo explains in his post. “Um in the middle of street and they stole my GoPro. And he punched me several times in my face and in my head, I’m bleeding.”
Ngo followed the video with more tweets, the first saying he was attacked by Antifa members with no police around to help until afterward. He later told his followers that he was headed to the hospital.
Ngo posted photos of him at an emergency room Saturday night, showing injuries on his face.
His lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, also tweeted Saturday night and informed the public that Ngo was suffering from a brain bleed and had to spend the night at the hospital.
On Sunday, Dhillion took to social media again, this time to let his followers know that Ngo was discharged from the hospital and headed home.
Some have viewed Ngo’s situation as an incident he brought upon himself, saying the video of his attack was “his goal from the start.”
On the other side, people have been condemning the attack. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted about Saturday’s violence and the attack on Ngo, along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who called the incident “horrible.”
A GoFundMe has since been set up to help cover Ngo’s medical expenses, security needs, and stolen equipment. As of Monday afternoon, it has almost tripled its goal of $50,000, with over $149,000 raised.
Rose City Antifa has also commented on Saturday’s gathering, calling it an “amazing success.” They wrote in their Facebook group, “The J29 demo was an amazing success which is really very upsetting for the dwindling crew of fascists who come to our city in hopes of bullying vulnerable people.
See what others are saying: (Oregon Live) (CNN) (Portland Mercury)
New COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant in the U.S. by March, CDC Warns
- The CDC warned Friday that a new highly transmissible COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.
- The strain was first reported in the United Kingdom in December and is now in at least 10 states.
- The CDC used a modeled trajectory to discover how quickly the variant could spread in the U.S. and said that this could threaten the country’s already overwhelmed healthcare system.
CDC Issues Warning
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the new COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.
While it is not known to be more deadly, it does spread at a higher rate, which is troubling considering the condition the U.S. is already in. Cases and deaths are already on the rise in nearly every state and globally, 2 million lives have been lost to the coronavirus.
The variant was first reported in the United Kingdom in mid-December. It is now in 30 countries, including the U.S., where cases have been located in at least ten states. Right now, only 76 cases of this variant have been confirmed in the U.S., but experts believe that number is likely much higher and said it will increase significantly in the coming weeks. It is already a dominant strain in parts of the U.K.
Modeled trajectory shows that growth in the U.S. could be so fast that it dominates U.S. cases just three months into the new year. This could pose a huge threat to our already strained healthcare system.
Mitigating Spread of Variant
“I want to stress that we are deeply concerned that this strain is more transmissible and can accelerate outbreaks in the U.S. in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC told the New York Times. “We’re sounding the alarm and urging people to realize the pandemic is not over and in no way is it time to throw in the towel.”
The CDC advises that health officials use this time to limit spread and increase vaccination as much as possible in order to mitigate the impact this variant will have. Experts believe that current vaccines will protect against this strain.
“Effective public health measures, including vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, will be essential,” the CDC said in their report.
“Strategic testing of persons without symptoms but at higher risk of infection, such as those exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or who have frequent unavoidable contact with the public, provides another opportunity to limit ongoing spread.”
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (New York Times) (NBC News)
Former Michigan Gov. and 8 Others Charged Over Flint Water Crisis
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. (Al Goldis/AP)
- Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty Wednesday for his role in the Flint water crisis
- By Thursday, eight more former state and city officials were charged with crimes ranging from involuntary manslaughter to extortion.
- Flint residents have long awaited this news. In 2019, prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against 15 officials and said they would start the investigation from scratch, citing concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.
Rick Snyder Charges
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said Thursday that it had filed 41 charges against nine former state and city officials for their role in the Flint water crisis.
The most high-profile figure to be charged was former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. On Wednesday, he was hit with two counts of willful neglect of duty.
He was the state’s top executive when local officials decided to switch the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.
The switch was supposed to be a temporary cost-saving measure while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. However, the water wasn’t treated properly for corrosion, so lead-contaminated water was released into the homes of people all over the city. Because of that, 12 people died and at least 90 were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease.
Snyder appeared in court this morning via Zoom, pleading not guilty to the two misdemeanor charges. If convicted he could face up to a year in prison and as much as a $1,000 fine.
His charges alone are significant because they make him the first governor or former governor in the state to ever be charged with a crime for alleged conduct while in office.
8 Others Charged
Along with Snyder, eight others were charged, including a former state health director Nick Lyon. Lyon received nine charges of involuntary manslaughter, among others.
Richard Baird, one of Snyder’s closes advisors was changed for extortion, perjury, and obstructions of justice. Others who were charged include:
- Jarrod Agen, Snyder’s former chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence’s former communications director.
- Dr. Eden Wells, a former chief medical executive for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
- Darnell Earley, former Flint finance director and state-appointed emergency manager.
- Gerald Ambrose, former state-appointed emergency manager.
- Howard Croft, former Flint Public Works Director.
- Nancy Peeler, the state’s director of maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting for the health department.
Flint residents have waited a long time for justice over the water contamination issue. Prosecutors previously dropped all 15 criminal charges tied to the Flint case in 2019 and said the investigation would begin again from scratch.
At the time, they cited concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.
It also wasn’t until last year that the state reached a $600 million settlement with victims, establishing a fund from which residents can file for compensation.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Detroit News) (Detroit Free Press)
Three Lawmakers Test Positive for COVID-19 Following Capitol Attack
- At least three Congressmembers have tested positive for COVID-19 following Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.
- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) believe they contracted the virus after locking down in close quarters with numerous Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
- Jayapal and Schneider are calling for those who did not wear a mask to face consequences.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Tests Positive
At least three members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 after locking down in close quarters with other House members during Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.
Congress’ attending physician, Brian Monahan, warned that members may have been exposed during the lockdown. He recommended that everyone who was isolated inside should get tested for the virus.
On Monday Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) became the first to announce that she tested positive. Watson Coleman believes she was exposed while in the Capitol lockdown. In her statement, she cited the multiple Republicans who refused to wear masks while inside. Video footage from Punchbowl News shows a Democratic lawmaker handing out masks and a handful of Republicans declining to take one.
Watson Coleman is a 75-year-old lung cancer survivor. While she said she is only experiencing cold-like symptoms, she tweeted that per a doctor’s suggestion, she headed to a local hospital for antibody treatment. She also encouraged those who sheltered in place to get tested.
More Cases Follow
Later on Monday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said she too had tested positive, also blaming a lack of mask-wearing in the Capitol. In a lengthy Twitter thread, she said Republicans created a superspreader event and demanded consequences for their actions.
“Many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic—creating a superspreader event ON TOP of a domestic terrorist attack,” she wrote.
“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable,” Jayapal added.
“I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) echoed her frustrations on Tuesday after releasing a statement saying he has become the third House member to have tested positive following the lockdown.
“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” he wrote.
Like Jayapal, he is calling for sanctions against those who opted to not wear masks.
Many health officials feared that this lockdown could lead to a surge in cases. They also worry that the mob itself could lead to a superspreader event as most of those who attacked the Capitol were not wearing masks and were crowding together both inside and outside of the building.