Notorious Portland antifa activist dies under mysterious circumstances
On Saturday morning, a Portland-area man was killed under mysterious circumstances.
Twenty-three-year-old Sean Kealiher, who was known locally in the Antifa community under the pseudonym “Armeanio Lewis,” died of blunt-force trauma after being hit by a car, according to police. The vehicle that allegedly hit him had been shot at and was found crashed outside the building of the Democratic Party of Oregon. Local politicians, media and activists are praising Kealiher as a progressive hero. Full disclosure: I had numerous run-ins with Keahiler in my capacity as a journalist documenting antifa’s activities.
So far, no one knows what really happened on early Saturday morning when Kealiher was killed. Portland Police have mostly kept mum about their early investigation, though they are pleading for witnesses to come forward. Antifa ideologues have a code of never allowing each other to cooperate with police. Police did confirm that the crime scene and car showed damage from gunfire. Unsurprisingly, the police and emergency responders were never called by Kealiher’s comrades. In fact, a homeless man who lives in a tent across from the Democratic Party headquarters told local media he saw Kealiher’s friends drag his body into a car, leaving a trail of blood.
Despite the uncertainties, this hasn’t kept the local media from running stories that insinuate—without evidence—that he may have been targeted for his left-wing activism. Many headlines have focused on the fact that Kealiher was fatally injured after leaving Cider Riot, an antifa pub found by state regulators this year to be a militant left-wing hotbed where patrons were allowed to carry illegal weapons.
Still, Kealiher’s death has reverberated across the mainstream left in Portland. Mayor Ted Wheeler took the rare step of publicly expressing shock and sadness. Brad Martin, executive director of the Democratic Party of Oregon, said that because Kealiher “was involved in progressive causes…it makes it all the more sad and concerning.” Other media pieces have focused on remembering Kealifer’s social justice “activism.” One publication ran a story where he was described as having a “soft heart.”
I first crossed paths with Kealiher in spring 2016 at Portland State University where I was a graduate student. On my first assignment for the student paper, I documented how around a hundred people, many who were non-students, shut down the inaugural meeting of the “PSU students for Donald Trump” group. I recorded Kealiher, who was not a student, jump on a table to try and fight a student who was filming. He had to be separated by his comrades. The event was widely covered on conservative media at the time as the country was awash in incident-after-incident of campus agitators shutting down speakers.
This was all before the election of Trump and before antifa became widely known in the U.S. but it was an important step in galvanizing Portland for Nov. 2016. After the election results were announced, Portlanders protested violently for days in downtown, causing over US$1 million worth of damage. It was on one of those nights that I came face-to-face with antifa “black bloc” for the first time. Wearing masks and black uniforms, they ran around the city destroying property with weapons and started fires on the streets. Interviewed by the Washington Post at the time under his pseudonym, Kealiher defended the violence, calling it “an unleashment of rage” against Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
A couple months later on the presidential Inauguration Day in Jan. 2017, thousands of Portlanders again amassed to protest the election results. Entire blocks of businesses in downtown closed and boarded up their windows, fearing a repeat of the rioting.
Kealiher was with a large group of antifa black bloc militants that day. They came together with banners, flags, sticks and other melee weapons. He was one of the few who was unmasked. I attempted to record footage of the black bloc for an assignment for the student paper, where I was now a multimedia editor, but was accosted by Kealiher. He warned me not to record his comrades or they “might do something” to me. This was the first time I had been threatened while working as a student journalist. Later that night, the protests devolved into chaos when demonstrators shut down the streets and refused to obey orders to disperse. One of the protesters told me on camera: “We must use violent revolution, there’s no other way to deal with [white supremacy].”
In Feb. 2017, Mike Bivins, a student journalist colleague at the time, was confronted by Kealiher outside city hall. Kealiher blamed Bivins for recording video footage of the riots in Nov. that led to his comrade, Mateen Abdul Shaheed, pleading guilty to five counts of first and second-degree criminal mischief. “It’s your f—ing fault someone is facing a felony f—ing charge,” shouted Kealiher to Bivins. “So you know what’s going to happen next time? I’m going to break your f—ing camera.” Kealiher also called for others to attack Bivins’ in a post on social media.
It remains to be seen what really happened that led to the untimely death of Kealiher. The circumstances are mysterious and antifa activists are encouraging others to stay silent. A tweet by the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, a regional antifa group, tells the public not to help police on the investigation and says his family is asking no one speak to the media. A GoFundMe for his family has already surpassed its goal by thousands. Kealiher was reportedly killed after leaving Cider Riot. The pub has a security camera system but it also has a documented history of concealing or destroying evidence, according to state regulators who investigated the business earlier this year following the May Day riot.
On Sunday night, dozens of masked antifa militants amassed in the dark carrying flares.
They vandalized the state Democratic Party office with graffiti to turn it into an antifa memorial. Messages on the building now urge others to kill law enforcement. The executive director for the state Democrat group expressed support for antifa black bloc’s actions, saying, “It’s just paint.”
Others are claiming online he was martyred by the far-right but what’s telling though is how antifa groups themselves have been uncharacteristically restrained in their statements. Rose City Antifa, the Portland antifa cell that claimed responsibility for beating me in June and a group Kealiher was associated with, tweeted this: “Our hearts go out to the friends and family members affected by the death of Sean Kealiher. Our sources indicate that this was not related to fascist activity.”
#MeToo had rules. At least we thought so. Culturally, societally, politically, we all tried to learn them, to internalize them, to understand just what types of incidents could get a person ejected from their life, tossed out of their social group, ostracized from friends, unemployable, unpersoned. The rules seemed almost clear—until suddenly those who seem to be in charge of them don’t even follow their own logic anymore.
Katie Hill had an affair with a junior staffer, another woman, who feels that she was victimized. By the rules of #MeToo, that would dictate that Hill loses it all, right? Only somehow, it’s being spun the other way, by the same publications that brought us diatribes against Al Franken. Hill, it turns out, can also claim victim status at the hands of her ex, who was the one who released the information about the affair. In her resignation speech, Hill echoed Franken’s sentiments, that it seems absurd that she should be resigning when a guy like Trump is in the White House.
To recap: the wronged party is not the spouse, not the junior staffer, but the powerful person at the center of it. While it is true that Hill was the victim of revenge porn, and that is not acceptable, the same principle did not apply to Anthony Weiner or Joe Barton. It does not immunize her from her own wrongdoing.
“The squad” of freshmen congresswomen supported her during her recent tribulation. Nancy Pelosi, and other senior members of Congress, apparently wished that “Hill had been more careful in transmitting her private photos.”
Hill was given far more leeway in terms of the vocal and press lashing that other members of Congress who have found themselves exposed for sexual misconduct have faced. It turns out that she is being supported, not harassed and harangued. A staffer for Rep Sylvia Garcia (D-TX 29th), said, “A lot of the show of support was done intimately and privately with Hill, out of respect for her. … People didn’t want to be adding to the noise. We didn’t want to make press out of the pain and suffering she’s been through. She had private images published without her consent that have caused incredible pain.” Weiner did too, but no one had any sympathy for him at all.
The thing is, and yeah, we hate to be those people, but we can so easily imagine the reverse scenario. Here it is: a dashing young first-term congressman has an affair with a staffer years younger. He takes drugs, advertises his sexual availability on dating apps, and drags his wife into a threesome with the junior staffer. When the marriage breaks up—perhaps as a result of this kind of rampant infidelity, after all, they weren’t openly poly or ethically non-monogamous—the wife releases the dirt on the congressman to the world. She wants people to know just what kind of guy this is, how he is a liar and a cheater, a womanizer, and abuser, unfit to be in Congress. What then? Why she’s a hero, of course, and he’s a villainous letch.
Haven’t we heard this story before? Why is it so different now? Is Hill really a victim of her own sexual dalliances? Are we to believe that a woman who is strong enough to run and win a congressional campaign is so easy to bully? Perhaps we’re looking at it all wrong, readers, perhaps we don’t truly understand the nature of abuse or something, but what we do understand, what is perfectly clear, is that we’re supposed to believe all women, even when she is the abuser. We’re supposed to imagine that there is some substantive difference in how the rules are to be applied to men and women in the same deleterious circumstances.
Now, we’re the first to admit that the rules are stupid. That this game of pointing fingers and shaming people is nonsensical and barbaric is not something we doubt. But if there are going to be rules that we are all expected to play by, ought they not be, well, adhered to?
If #MeToo is meant to be the new standard that we all must bow down to, and it’s a given that men and women are equal, then we must apply the rules fairly, and everyone who has a complicated sexual relationship that leads to grievances must be punished. Or, maybe, just maybe, we could do away with this nonsense and start to see the human beings for what they are: flawed, complicated, and capable of cruelty and kindness.
#MeToo may have been an effective corrective in some situations, but it should never have risen to the level of an era. As it stands now, we are living through a “cultural context where common vengeance writes the law,” and the hypocrisy is destroying us. If the rules don’t apply the same way for everyone, perhaps the rules are the problem.
A town hall event in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the Melody Centre has been targeted by the antifa extremists. The event was organized by the WalkAway Campaign, which had activist Brandon Straka, documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, radio host Lars Larson, and prominent journalist Andy Ngo, speaking to the audience on a range of topical issues. Disclosure: Ngo is the Editor-at-large at The Post Millennial.
Over the past week, antifa had tried to harass the centre into deplatforming the speakers. Despite the group attempting to intimidate the business, audience, and speakers, they failed to shut down the event.
Even before the event had begun, a group of 20 antifa members gathered outside the centre, intimidating the speakers and audience. Soon after, they began to circle the event, taking photographs of the attendees.
During the event, Ngo saw the antifa activist who attacked him whilst at the gym earlier this year in May and decided to name him on Twitter. The assailant’s name is John Hacker.
As they were circling the event, the antifa members chanted slogans like “I f****d God, now he’s gay,” and “all cops are bastards.” Despite there being a heavy police presence, and threats of violence, Portland’s police force largely remained in the background in light clothing, rather than the heavy riot gear they have worn at previous antifa demonstrations.
Due to the event being ticketed, the antifa members did not manage to disrupt the event. Nevertheless, the group still attempted to make as much noise as possible by honking horns and creating a general racket. These noises, however, failed to penetrate the event, only irritating the surrounding neighbourhood.
Over the past few days, antifa and other hard-left organizations had attempted to cancel the event. Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone also called for the event to be shut down, posting on Twitter: “There should be no safe haven for people affiliated with domestic terrorists and nationalist extremists.” This tweet was later criticized for inciting violence.
On Twitter, Iannarone has mentioned her support of antifa, announcing her support of her nickname, the “Antifa mayor.” antifa has long been criticized for its violent tactics and willingness to label moderate public figures as fascists. Even the notorious socialist Noam Chomsky has labeled antifa as a “major gift to the right,” due to their extremist tactics.
The main effort to get this event cancelled came from a group called Popular Mobilization, which is another coordinated left-wing organization. Popular Mobilization has publicly directed its followers to harass the centre by sending private messages and requests. After this failed, they then decided to call and email the centre into compliance. The group was responsible for distributing the milkshakes that were used to assault people in an antifa riot in June.
Portland has had a troubling history of far-left violence and intimidation. Earlier this year, Ngo was beaten and attacked with “milkshakes” on the streets of the city. As well as this, during the far-right, Proud Boys rally, antifa attacked multiple people including non-related bystanders. Despite this, very few charges were laid by the Portland police.
Ngo has been a constant target of antifa violence and conspiracy theories. On Halloween night, antifa activists arrived at Ngo’s family home so to intimidate his family. As well as this, Ngo has often been accused by antifa and their allies of providing “kill lists” to Atomwaffen.
Yesterday, Stanford University data scientist, Becca Lewis, also promoted this unfounded conspiracy theory.
TPM asked Ngo about the demonstration. “The masked protesters mocked my injuries from the beating when I was outside. They passed out flyers with the false claim that I provide a terrorist group with ‘kill lists.’ Clearly the aim is to lie about me in the most egregious ways to incite more violence against me,” he said.
Unsettling security footage has appeared online of what appears to be six antifa grunts approaching journalist Andy Ngo’s door. (Disclosure: Andy Ngo is the editor at large for TPM.)
The video, taken on Halloween by a home security system, shows a group of men approaching Ngo’s front door, each of them wearing hooded sweaters with print-out masks of Ngo’s face.
According to Ngo, the 48-second long video is a shortened version of an encounter that lasted “several minutes.”
“These 6 individuals wearing print-out masks of my face approached my family’s home last night, repeatedly rang doorbell, pounded on window, recorded footage of property & gestured at cameras. There were no candy bags. This follows their doxing of my elderly mom’s small business,” said Ngo in the tweet.
In a comment to TPM, Ngo said that “This is the latest addition to a long list of antifa-related individuals doxing, threatening, and promising to hurt or kill me or my family.” Ngo also mentioned that police were called during the incident, but that the gang had fled before they had arrived. Ngo says police took a report, but was informed that people with masks “are hard, if not impossible to identify.”
Another obstacle in identifying the group is that they appear to be wearing thick gloves, which completely removes any chance of obtaining fingerprints.
Ngo has a well-documented history of encounters with antifascist mobs, who have repeatedly threaten Ngo’s safety with threats of violence.
On June 29, Ngo was beaten, milkshaked and robbed by a mob of antifa thugs, leading to his hospitalization for a brain hemorrhage.
The incident received widespread coverage, as the footage went directly against mainstream media’s depiction of antifa as an “inherently self-defensive” anti-fascist counter-protestor group.
Since then, Ngo has been subjected to targetted online harassment, death threats, as well as open efforts to make his life more complicated by creating “inconveniences and environment hostility” by applying pressure on businesses to refuse service to him, as well as for him “to be publicly de-platformed ala Milo [Yiannopolous.]”
Posts from sites other than Twitter bare the most concerning threats, though, as they go less supervised. Posts from anarcho-communist blogs directly call for Ngo to be shot, with some members even posing with guns and other weapons.
An antifa activist with a history of violence and threatening behaviour across the Pacific Northwest has been arrested on a felony hate crime charge in Seattle for alleged anti-Semitic attacks.
Jamal Oscar Williams, 44, is accused by state prosecutors in Washington state of hate crimes and criminal harassment against Schmuel Levitin, a rabbi, and Ephriam Block. According to court documents, Williams “maliciously and intentionally” followed, threatened to kill and assaulted the men in multiple attacks in October because of their perceived religion.
Levitin and Block were operating a permitted religious booth for the Sukkot Jewish holiday in downtown Seattle on October 11 when Williams allegedly approached them and shouted: “Jews, Jews, Jews … give me your money!” He then said he had a gun and was going to kill them. Both Levitin and Block have beards and payots, or sideburns, and were wearing yarmulkes. Levitin is a rabbi at the Chabad of Downtown Seattle.
Three days later, Williams returned and made similar threats and demands for money. On October 15, the next day, Williams allegedly followed the men into the lobby of their apartment building. After making more demands for money, he allegedly hurled candy from the concierge’s desk at the men. Police later found and arrested Williams in a nearby-area. He was unarmed at the time.
Jamal Williams is known in the Pacific Northwest for his involvement in various antifa protests and his outspoken views on black nationalism. In August 2018, he was arrested in Seattle during a counter-protest against right-wing group Patriot Prayer. Last November, he threatened this journalist with death outside Seattle City Hall at a counter-demonstration against a conservative group.
More recently, Williams was in Portland, Oregon on August 17 where he was recorded accosting people aggressively during an antifa protest-turned-riot against the Proud Boys. He was also part of a group of people who surrounded and threatened to hurt a reporter with the Washington Examiner.
“He threatened me multiple times,” Julio Rosas said. “It spoke volumes when Portland Police pulled me away and said I was provoking Williams and others, when it was Williams who was acting in a very aggressive manner.”
Williams was later arrested by Portland Police for disorderly conduct. He did not show up to his court hearing in September and there is a bench warrant for his arrest.
In addition to Williams’ radical political activism with antifa, he has a long history of criminal and harassing behaviour. In Washington state, he was convicted in 2015 for felony harassment and domestic violence. He has multiple other convictions for assault and domestic violence going back years. He also has a long violent criminal record in Alaska, where he used to live.
Williams is currently incarcerated on a $100,000 bond in King County, Washington for the hate crime charge.