Portland protester seen in viral confrontation with federal officers is Navy veteran
A 53-year-old Navy veteran went viral over the weekend after footage emerged of him confronting federal officers in Portland, Ore.
Christopher David, a onetime member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, told The Washington Post that after he saw the officers rush a line of protesters and knock several to the ground, he addressed them directly, shouting “Why are you not honoring your oath to the Constitution?”
In response, several officers shoved him, but he was able to keep his balance. Another agent beat David with his baton while one sprayed him in the face with a chemical irritant, after which he finally walked away, making his way to a bench where a street medic provided aid, according to the Post. He later learned his right hand was broken.
Over the next several days, footage of the incident captured by Portland Tribune reporter Zane Sparling circulated across the internet and social media.
Here’s the longer version of the protester being struck repeatedly by federal police tonight in Portland pic.twitter.com/v9BljIkLK0
— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) July 19, 2020
David, who said the event was his first protest, said the episode illustrated how many of the people taking to the streets in Portland and around the country are not experienced activists, despite White House assertions.
“It’s just us normal people out there,” he told the Post. “There were a whole group of pregnant moms standing out there linking arms and they got gassed. You hear people like [President] Trump say it’s just a bunch of wacko fringe people in liberal cities who are out there, but no way. We’re all just normal people who think what’s happening is wrong.”
A group of mothers formed a “Wall of Moms” at the same demonstrations, forming a barrier between the officers and other protesters, before eventually being dispersed with tear gas by the federal forces.