Proud Boy brawler Tusitala “Tiny” Toese has been extradited to Oregon to face 11 charges stemming from a street battle with Antifa counterprotesters in Portland last August.
Toese was arrested — and had been jailed in Washington state since January — on charges of unlawfully breaching the grounds of the Washington governor’s mansion and assaulting an officer on Jan. 6 2021, in an echo of the violence at the U.S. Capitol. While those charges are still pending, Toese was moved to Oregon Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday on multiple counts of assault, riot, unlawful use of a weapon, and criminal mischief.
The hulking Toese, 25, has a long rap sheet for street fighting at protests. But the melee last August was remarkable in that Portland law enforcement actively chose not to intervene — allowing right- and left-wing militants to battle with clubs, paintball guns, bear spray, and explosives in a K-Mart parking lot in the east of the city.
The Proud Boys are a violent “Western Chauvinist” organization. Top Proud Boys, including the group’s former leader Enrique Tarrio, have been indicted on conspiracy charges for attempting to block the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump. Designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group,” the Proud Boys particularly hate Antifa — or antifascists — who have a strong presence in Portland, home to one of the oldest groups in the country, Rose City Antifa.
The affidavit supporting Toese’s charges (embedded below) describes the Proud Boy as a leader in the street fight that day, directing the actions of other fighters, and taunting Antifa counterprotesters with “a call-and-response style chant of ‘Fuck around, Find out.'”
The affidavit quotes Toese’s incitement of the crowd in advance of the fight with rhetoric like, “It’s going to be 1776 up in this bitch,” and issuing a warning to Antifa counterprotesters: “If you want to have our freedom, you’re going to have to put all of us six-feet-under…. there is a bunch of Proud Boys, a bunch of veterans, a bunch of patriots that are standing here on this property that are ready to go battle for this. So try us.”
Following that speech, Toese assumed command of a group of half-a-dozen militants “wearing tactical gear and carrying weapons including paintball guns, firearms, blunt weapons, explosive devices, and bear spray,” the affidavit alleges. When a group of counterprotesters rolled up in a decommissioned ambulance, it continues, members of Toese’s crew “immediately began attacking the van and its occupants … causing extensive damage to the windows, tires, and vehicle body.”
After engaging in mutual combat with the van’s occupants, chasing them off, the affidavit alleges Toese retrenched with his group at the K-Mart lot for another battle that evolved into a pursuit through city streets toward a public school. “The two groups exchanged paintball-gun fire and chemical sprays, and threw various explosive and paint-filled projectiles at one another as they moved … toward nearby Parkrose High School.” (It was a Sunday and school was, thankfully, not in session.)
Toese then personally led an attack on a Silver Honda Ridgeline truck, according to the affidavit, of whose driver Toese insisted, “He’s Antifa, he’s Antifa.” Toese, “approached the vehicle and, using a bat he had carried with him from the K-Mart parking lot, broke out the driver’s side window,” the affidavit alleges, before “inciting” fellow crew members “to attack the truck and assault the driver.” The driver was allegedly shot with paintball weapons, kicked, hit by a militant wearing “an armored motorcycle glove,” and maced with bear spray before he was able to escape.
When the physical violence began to break up, Toese stopped to talk to video journalists streaming the combat. “That’s our message for you Antifa,” Toese said, “the Americans are coming out and they’re sick and tired of this shit. If we have to fight fire with fire we’re going to fucking do it. Fuck Antifa.”
The affidavit alleges that Toese then instructed his followers to upend the Antifa ambulance, shouting: “Boys, flip this motherfucker over so they don’t get to drive this bitch.” When his compatriots couldn’t do much more than rock the vehicle, the massive Toese instructed them to “get low” and personally helped them flip the van, according to the document.
Despite being ID’d and photographed engaged in combat that day, Toese left Portland without being arrested. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner, initially crowed about the success of the city’s hands-off strategy in having “contained” the mayhem of Aug. 22 to “groups of people who chose to engage in violence toward each other.” But after images of the street battle sparked national outcry, Wheeler admitted he badly bungled the affair, saying it “was not the right strategy. I think we can all acknowledge that.”
Toese remained at large, and only weeks later, engaged in a similar clash with Antifa counterprotesters in Olympia, Washington. That combat featured live gunfire, and Toese was shot in the leg. He was hospitalized, but strangely also avoided arrest after that encounter.
Toese is now facing five counts of assault, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of riot, and two counts of criminal mischief. Multnomah County prosecutors have asked that Toese be denied bail until trial.
Read the full Toese affidavit below: