Owner of Antifa-friendly Portland bar let patrons use 'illegal weapons' against conservative activists, state probe says
The owner of a reportedly Antifa-friendly bar in Portland, Ore., knowingly allowed patrons to use “illegal weapons” against conservative activists during a violent clash in May, an investigation by state regulators alleges, according to a report.
The report by the Oregon Liquor Control Commssion (OLCC) also says the owner of Cider Riot refused to remove unruly customers from his property and gave misleading statements to authorities, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
The attorney for bar owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong balked at the investigation’s findings.
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“It’s not clear what OLCC would have wanted my client to do,” attorney Juan Chavez said. “Did they want Abe to be both a one-man police force and a bouncer, all while he was dealing with a small triage hospital in his cidery?”
“It’s not clear what OLCC would have wanted my client to do. Did they want Abe to be both a one-man police force and a bouncer, all while he was dealing with a small triage hospital in his cidery?”
The commission’s investigation has recommended multiple administrative charges against Goldman-Armstrong and his staff.
The investigation into Cider Riot was prompted after several complaints were filed with the agency following the May 1 brawl.
Law enforcement officials have also charged conservative activist and Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson, as well as five other men associated with the conservative group, with felony riot offenses. Gibson faces a $1 million lawsuit from Goldman-Armstrong.
On Friday, a judge rejected Gibson's request to have the case moved outside Portland, the Oregonian/OregonLive.con reported.
Chavez also claimed Patriot Prayer encouraged its supporters on social media to report Cider Riot to regulators.
Investigators say Goldman-Armstrong photographed patrons using “illegal weapons” during the fight, which was largely captured on video.
“Goldman-Armstrong stated that his patrons were only acting in self-defense but clearly, according to the video, he was present and watching as patrons displayed aggressive behavior,” wrote state inspector Genny Welp, according to the Oregonian/OregonLive.
“Goldman-Armstrong stated that his patrons were only acting in self-defense but clearly, according to the video, he was present and watching as patrons displayed aggressive behavior.”
During his first interview with regulators, a Cider Riot security guard omitted that he left his post, used mace and fought with conservative protesters.
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Goldman-Armstrong, a vocal antifascist, plans to sell his bar, which has taken on some debt, telling Willamette Week he hopes the buyer will be someone who shares his political views.
"We're not going to sell to racist s-----gs, and I don't think the other investors would feel comfortable selling to someone who doesn't believe in equal rights for all humans,” he said. “Political views don't usually play a part in business, so we're not ruling out anyone unless they're really terrible."
An OLCC spokesperson said the agency plans to outline formal charges against Cider Riot next week, Oregonian/OregonLive reported.