Ex-Proud Boys Member Gets 10 Years in Prison for Violence at Portland Protests

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Prosecutors called Alan Swinney, 51, a “white nationalist vigilante cowboy” who changeable a antheral successful the oculus with a paintball gun.

Alan Swinney utilized  a paintball weapon  to sprout  astatine  protesters successful  Portland, Ore., successful  August 2020.
Credit...David Ryder for The New York Times

Dec. 10, 2021, 6:52 p.m. ET

A erstwhile subordinate of the Proud Boys from Texas who traveled to Portland, Ore., to face protesters determination past twelvemonth was sentenced connected Friday to 10 years successful situation for shooting a antheral successful the oculus with a paintball gun, spraying radical successful the look with carnivore mace and aiming a loaded handgun astatine a crowd, prosecutors said.

The erstwhile member, Alan Swinney, 51, was a “white nationalist vigilante cowboy,” who went to Portland to prosecute successful governmental unit during protests determination successful the summertime of 2020, prosecutors said.

In societal media posts, helium made threats against “the left” and “antifa,” prosecutors said, and helium tried to enlistee radical to signifier a militia to combat successful what helium believed was a civilian war.

Mr. Swinney, who appeared astatine respective demonstrations successful the Northwest, became a “known entity” successful Portland, arsenic helium instigated and committed convulsive acts nether the banner of escaped code and pro-police sentiments, prosecutors said.

On 2 days — Aug. 15, 2020 and Aug. 22, 2020 — helium led a tiny radical of like-minded radical and engaged successful aggregate acts of unit during demonstrations stemming from the execution of George Floyd, prosecutors said.

Mr. Swinney caused a superior oculus wounded by shooting a antheral successful the look with a paintball gun, and helium discharged carnivore mace connected aggregate occasions — spraying immoderate radical straight successful the look — and aimed a loaded Ruger .357 magnum handgun astatine a crowd, prosecutors said. He besides changeable radical with paintballs, prosecutors said.

In October, aft a six-day trial, a Multnomah County assemblage recovered Mr. Swinney guilty of 11 transgression charges, including second-degree assault, fourth-degree battle and unlawful usage of a limb with a firearm, prosecutors said.

Mr. Swinney’s lawyer, Joseph Westover, did not instantly respond connected Friday to telephone and email messages seeking comment.

During the trial, Mr. Westover argued that Mr. Swinney had been defending himself against “agitators” who were harassing him and that helium saw himself arsenic a “protector” who came to Portland to basal betwixt demonstrators clad successful achromatic causing mayhem and “Back the Blue” protesters, The Oregonian reported.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors argued that letters, societal media statements and grounds from Mr. Swinney showed that helium had “no remorse for his actions, nary tendency to alteration and each volition of engaging successful aboriginal acts of violence.”

“During the trial, helium rapidly labeled each of the radical that opposed him arsenic terrorists, helium expressed joyousness for those that were hurt, bragged astir his actions, and powerfully asserted that helium would bash it each implicit again if fixed the chance,” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors included successful the memorandum a missive that Mr. Swinney had written to Derek Chauvin, the erstwhile Minneapolis constabulary serviceman who was sentenced successful June to 22 and a fractional years successful situation for murdering Mr. Floyd by kneeling connected his cervix for much than 9 minutes arsenic helium pleaded for air.

“Our state has excessively galore George Floyds successful it,” Mr. Swinney wrote. “It’s clip to cleanable house.”

Prosecutors said that Mr. Swinney had called himself a “patriot” and that helium was a self-professed subordinate of the Proud Boys, the far-right radical notorious for engaging successful brawls.

The radical has come nether scrutiny arsenic national agents effort to find to what grade its leaders planned the battle connected the Capitol connected Jan. 6, erstwhile a mob of Trump supporters temporarily disrupted the certification of the statesmanlike predetermination results.

In August, the group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, was sentenced to 5 months successful jailhouse for possessing high-capacity firearm magazines a fewer days earlier the siege and for burning a stolen Black Lives Matter banner successful Washington, D.C., aft a Trump rally descended into unit successful December 2020.

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