Interview with Portland Anti-Fascist Arrestee

“My mugshot and name are all over the place, and I’m getting harassed,” says Maria DeHart, one of three people arrested this past weekend in Portland, during a clash between far-right extremists and anti-fascist protestors on Saturday, June 29. 

A former Corvallis resident and writer for The Advocate, DeHart decided to take to the streets after hearing that members of the Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist group that promotes political violence, would be visiting Pioneer Square.

“Up to this point, I was never directly affiliated with Antifa,” says DeHart, “but I am from Charlottesville, and have participated in anti-racist work there.”

DeHart was arrested on June 29 and cited for disorderly conduct and harassment. 

“Long story short, I got mauled by a sh*t-ton of police,” she says, going on describe ducking under a cloud of mace dispersed by law enforcement. Since her case is pending, she is unable to share details as to the reason for her arrest.

DeHart says that the Department of Homeland Security accompanied countless police officers dressed in full riot gear, carrying clubs.

“I thought they were going to club me,” she remarks. “I didn’t know what was happening, it was very confusing, but I kind of just ducked and covered my eyes.”

In her opinion, DeHart says law enforcement was “totally protecting the fascists… protecting the racists.” 

DeHart describes her personal treatment by police as demeaning: “They just try to make you feel really alone… and they treat you like a child.”

DeHart was held in custody for 5 hours, and upon release, was immediately greeted by an Antifa representative with water, pepper spray tips, and self care advice. DeHart went from the police station to play at a gig, where she found reprieve in free drinks from a supportive community.

Generally, the media has been unsupportive of DeHart and other protestors. While there are no reports of any Proud Boys being arrested, two other anti-fascist protestors were apprehended and charged. One was Rose Stocks, a nonbinary trans person charged with harassment. Media and police reports have blatantly disregarded Stocks’ identity in using their deadname, or birth name. 

Gage Halupowski was the third arrestee, charged with multiple counts of assault. DeHart says that Halupowski remains in custody “on a ridiculously large bail.”

Media coverage has been largely sympathetic to the fascist party — Fox news published DeHart’s mugshot with an account of the event, part of the headline reading (similar to other reports), “conservative writer injured.” This is in reference to Andy Ngo, an islamophobic independent joiurnalist, who DeHart describes as the alt-right movement’s “token gay person of color.” 

To donate to medical, legal, and post-arrest expenses for anti-fascist protestors from the June 29 Portland rally, visit https://rally.org/june29antifascistfund.

By Stevie Beisswanger