8/26/2023 News Roundup


<<Oregon State Police are investigating a shooting involving Grants Pass police officers that occurred in Josephine County on Thursday around 8:52 a.m.

According to officials with OSP, officers found Dennis McGuire, 69, armed with a firearm after locating the victim, 63-year-old Robert Mills near the M Street Market at 1000 SE M Street.

Details of the shooting have yet to be released, though authorities say “the incident quickly escalated and culminated in an officer-involved shooting.”

Officials say Mills and McGuire were transported to a hospital with gunshot wounds. As of 5 p.m., the pair were in serious but stable condition.

The officers involved in the shooting have not been identified to the public, though OSP says none were injured at the scene.>>



<<As students prepare to return to class in Portland Public Schools next week, the district plans to add security staff to middle school campuses.

Campus safety associates (CSAs) will monitor hallways and ensure the school is safe.

CSAs are not law enforcement officers and don’t have a badge or gun.

They were already present on high school campuses last year but will now be stationed at middle schools as well.

“We’ll have one campus safety associate at every middle school,” said Molly Romay, the senior director of security services at Portland Public Schools.

Romay said the district has been looking to add CSAs over the past few years.

“They’re trained in restorative justice practices,” Romay said. “They’re trained in de-escalation.”

CSAs will work to prevent and stop unsafe situations, like fights on school grounds, the district said.

The decision to add more security comes after PPS eliminated school resource officers (SROs) three years ago. Unlike SROs, CSAs do not punish students for bad behavior.

The district hired 17 new CSAs, most of which will monitor the school’s middle schools. A couple of CSAs will also act as “rovers,” to ensure K-5 and K-8 campuses are also safe. In total, the 17 new positions will cost PPS around $1.3 million this year.

High school CSAs will work more hours this year, patrolling campuses from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. That will ensure that there is security during extracurricular activities like athletic team practices, Romay said.>>

<<In the future, Romay said she hopes the program can expand to have CSAs at all campuses.>>



<<Ngo’s lawsuit claimed that a series of attacks, ranging from thrown milkshakes to alleged serious injuries, were the result of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations-style criminal conspiracy in which activists were alleged to be either members of, or worked in coordination with, Rose City Antifa, a Portland-based anti-fascist group.

Ngo’s team sought $900,000 in damages from 50 defendants, including several John and Jane Does they believed were members of Rose City Antifa. Ngo eventually added on later incidents, including one in which activist and journalist John Hacker allegedly threw water on him at 24 Hour Fitness, and a second 2021 incident in which a group of black-clad activists chased Ngo at a Black Lives Matter protest>>

<<The trial began on August 1, and Ngo’s large list of alleged co-conspirators were whittled down to just two: Richter and her friend, Hacker, who were accused of participating in assault. “Andy knew from the litigation process that I’m a broke single mom of two disabled kids,” Richter told Truthout. As Ngo spread what she calls misinformation about her online, it became clear to the defendants that he had aims other than a simple payout.

Little evidence was provided of any overarching collaboration between the defendants, and several of the people named in the lawsuit were chosen simply because they had attended a protest or because they wore black clothing. Rose City Antifa was eventually dropped from the suit altogether when the judge ruled the group wasn’t even a legal entity that could be sued.>>

<<“For [Ngo], it was a way to create a new chapter/new book, new ways to bring in donations,” says Alissa Azar, an independent journalist who was present for the trial. “Aside from money, I think it was a way for him to try and use the system to uncover people’s identities, regardless what part they played in any of the involved incidents, and using that to further harass people, encourage and incite violence, and more fuel for his lie infested ‘articles’ and content.”

The court pronounced Richter and Hacker not liable for damages on August 8.>>

<<The defense brought in several witnesses at the August proceedings who drew doubt about the legitimacy of Ngo’s claims and the coherence of his assertions about anti-fascist violence, testifying to Ngo’s position as a right-wing provocateur. One such witness was Alexander Reid Ross, a geographer and scholar of far right movements who teaches at Portland State University. Ross had previous run-ins with Ngo, including having been singled out by Ngo on X, formerly known as Twitter, and in Ngo’s book, in which he erroneously suggested that Ross was actively involved in anti-fascist organizing.

“Whereas journalists tend to report stories from an observational standpoint, I told [the court] that Ngo makes himself the story, first targeting individuals who participate in social movements that he opposes through social media, and then aggravating volatile situations in ways that stimulate violence,” Ross told Truthout, noting that Ngo’s team tried to impugn his credibility on cross-examination.>>

<<Ross testified that, of the people who responded to Ngo’s X posts about him, “There were at least three who fantasized about my death.” He also testified that every time Ngo posts a mugshot on X, he claims the person is antifa, which he said can lead to a terrorizing experience for the person singled-out (a point Ngo admitted previously).

Richter would know. “Andy was all over the internet spreading lies about me all through the trial prep,” she told Truthout, adding that she had to go on psychiatric medication because of the stress of the trial and the online harassment she faced. “[I experienced] nonstop death threats … people showing up at my house.”

While Ngo’s team was likely aware they wouldn’t get much money out of Richter, and that there was little evidence to prove her association with Rose City Antifa or any alleged assaults on Ngo, they continued forward anyway. This put her back into the limelight, and often in the crosshairs of Ngo’s X account, where his supporters would often single her out for further harassment.>>

<<The Post Millennial has framed the case as an example of liberal city corruption and the ubiquity of antifa’s power. Whether or not Ngo was victorious in court, right-wing media outfits similarly used the case to paint Ngo a victim of an unjust system and themselves as brave truth tellers.>>

<<Even though Ngo lost the case, he has still been able to hold at least three defendants — Katherine Belyea, Madison Allen and Sammich Overkill Schott-Deputy — liable for incidents they claim to have had no involvement with: On August 21, the judge ordered the three, who had previously “defaulted” by not responding to the lawsuit, to each pay $100,000 in damages to Ngo. These three defendants never responded to the lawsuit, either because they never heard about it or for other reasons, and therefore the judge awarded the damages to Ngo as the default judgment.

“I had no idea the trials were actually going through. I had no idea the state of Oregon had tried to serve me and had done so via publication,” said Sammich Overkill Schott-Deputy, who uses they/them pronouns, and says they found out about the trial as it was happening. The county, they say, knew where they were residing because they were on probation.

The summons was published in The Oregonian as a way of reaching defendants the court could not reach in other ways, which can be determined to meet the legal bar for notification.

Ngo alleged Schott-Deputy was involved in the infamous June 29, 2019, milkshake incident, but the only evidence provided was video in which Schott-Deputy was seen standing at a distance in the background.

Schott-Deputy claims they “had no clue whatsoever” who Ngo was at the time. It was only when Schott-Deputy was arrested in a separate incident that they first heard about the possibility of being named in the suit, but their subsequent conviction and incarceration rendered them unable to respond. Schott-Deputy assumed that since the court was monitoring them closely, the court would have provided them with a summons.

“I wanted to answer for it. I wanted to speak my piece because I know of my own innocence in this matter,” Schott-Deputy told Truthout, pointing out that unlike Richter and Hacker, they never even had an interaction with Ngo. “[This judgment] would ruin me financially for the rest of my life, quite literally.” Schott-Deputy said they had struggled through multiple years of homelessness and substance addiction, just recently pulling their life back together. They say they’re weighing options with their attorney.

Meanwhile, Richter and Hacker are still on the hook for around $40,000 in total for the various costs associated with the court despite their attorneys working pro bono. The two are looking into pursuing Ngo to pay for part of the court costs, but they will still need to fundraise to be able to pay the rest of the bill.

Just as concerning, the trial put the private communication of the defendants into the public record. Hacker pointed out that part of what protects him and all activists is keeping “security culture” in mind, noting that his direct messages on Twitter were made public. Even if a case is lacking in merit, exposing the private communications of organizers can leave people open to far right harassment, doxxing and potential legal jeopardy, making effective activism nearly impossible.>>



<<Byron Brown, a Portland native and self-proclaimed “ticket broker,” has been independently reselling tickets since he was 14 years old. But when he showed up to the Moda Center on Feb. 19 to sell Eagles tickets, he said it was not business as usual.

“Have I ever experienced racism? The answer is yes,” he said. “But it’s never been so outrageous, so disgusting, so vile, and right in your face.”

According to Brown, he was standing outside the garden garage when a security guard aggressively told him to go across the street. Brown refused to leave the public walkway and asked for a supervisor.

That’s when he said the guard uttered something he’ll never forget: “You don’t deserve to be here. Get back to the cotton field.”

“I say, ‘What?’ and he said it again,” Brown said, recalling the moment.

When he demanded to speak with the guard’s supervisor, Brown says the guard initially denied it. However, he shot a video on his cell phone that appears to show a woman in a Moda Center jacket confirming Brown’s side of the story.

According to the civil lawsuit filed last Thursday, Brown’s attorneys are seeking $750,000 from Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, the company managing the Moda Center, as well as Landmark Event Staffing Services, which employs security personnel.

“Mr. Brown’s incident is just one in any number of similar instances that black members of the community in particular have had to deal with, worry about, wonder about for a long time, and unfortunately, it’s still there,” said Adam Kiel, the attorney representing Brown.

Brown said he suffered feelings of embarrassment, frustration, anger, humiliation, vulnerability and racial stigmatization.

“Traumatized, disrespected, degraded, you can go on and on,” he said.

While the firm has brought race discrimination cases for decades, he says they’ve recently seen more support from Portland juries with two verdicts in the seven-figure range for similar cases within the last year.

“The thing that maybe has changed is that the rest of Portland is now more aware, I think, in large part to when the Black Lives Matter movement really kicked into gear, aware that this is something that the rest of Portland has to deal with,” Kiel said.>>



<<A program aimed at getting people off the streets and into housing in Multnomah County has come to an end, and some who benefited from it are now at risk of returning to the streets.

Multnomah County launched Move In Multnomah in the spring of 2022. It used supportive housing services tax money to cover most of a year’s rent for more than 200 households. In turn, it was meant to incentivize landlords to rent to homeless families.

Brandi Tuck, who runs Path Home, a Southeast Portland shelter and homeless service provider for families, works with about 20 of the households participating in the program.

“It sounds exactly like a great program on paper,” she said. However the reality she described pointed to some shortcomings.

“The reality was that the rent guarantee was great. We were able to offer 12 months of rent assistance for families. That’s super,” Tuck said. “The challenge was that we got a lot a lot of rent assistance but we didn’t get any resources for case managers to help [the families] manage their budgets, learn new skills, get a better job or employment situation, where they’ll be able to pay their rent after their rent assistance ends.”

That wasn’t the only issue with the program. Tuck said just a few months after it launched, the county told providers like Tuck it would end after one year.

“I would not call this program a long-term success,” she said.

The county just gave the families housed through the program an additional three months of rent support. That runs out this fall.

“We will do everything we possibly can to ensure that none of our families end up back on the streets, but I think there probably will be some families who end up homeless again,” Tuck said. “I wish that the county would have come to the providers and had dialogue with us about what we needed and how we could have made this program successful.”>>