(Reuters) – A supporter of the right-wing Proud Boys group who was indicted for pointing a firearm and firing a paintball gun at anti-racism protesters in Portland, Oregon, was arrested early on Wednesday, according to a county prosecutor.
The arrest of Alan Swinney, 50, came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump in Tuesday’s presidential debate told the Proud Boys to “stand back and standby” when asked if “white supremacists and militia groups” should stand down after confrontations with anti-racism protesters in U.S. cities.
Swinney, who has “Proud Boy” tattooed on his right arm, was indicted on Sept. 11 for allegedly spraying mace, causing physical harm with a paintball gun and pointing a revolver during demonstrations in Portland on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22, according to court documents.
Swinney is being held in the Multnomah County jail on 12 charges, including assault and unlawful use of a weapon, according to a statement by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.
The self-declared “Western chauvinist” Proud Boys gathered nearly 1,000 supporters in Portland on Saturday in a rally that sought to counter four months of sustained protests against racism and police brutality, some of which have ended in violence.
The men-only Proud Boys group describes itself as a fraternal organization that is “anti-political correctness,” but the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies it as a hate group, citing the members’ anti-Muslim and misogynist rhetoric.
Separately, the sheriff of Multnomah County denied Trump’s claim in Tuesday night’s debate that he supported the president, who has repeatedly attacked the Democratic leadership of Portland, a city he termed an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
“I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him,” Sheriff Mike Reese tweeted. “Donald Trump has made my job a hell of a lot harder since he started talking about Portland.”
(Reporting By Andrew Hay; Editing by Aurora Ellis)