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2 Patriot Prayer Defendants Plead Guilty To Rioting

<p>Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson&nbsp;directs people back to the west side of the Willamette River during demonstrations in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.</p>
<p>Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson&nbsp;directs people back to the west side of the Willamette River during demonstrations in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.</p>

Two of the six people facing felony riot charges for their role in a May brawl between Patriot Prayer and anti-fascists pleaded guilty Monday.

Matthew Demetrius Cooper, 24, was sentenced to three years of probation, 120 hours of community service, and is banned from participating in unpermitted marches, demonstrations and protests. 

Christopher Ponte, 38, received the same sentence plus 10 days in jail. 

Ponte and Cooper are both affiliated with the Vancouver, Washington-based group Patriot Prayer, according to a separate $1 million civil lawsuit against the group’s leader Joey Gibson.

The charges stem from a May Day street fight that took place in front of the now closed Cider Riot! pub in Northeast Portland. Prosecutors allege all six of the people charged had taunted and physically threatened members of antifa in order to provoke a physical altercation. Deputy District Attorny Brad Kalbaugh wrote in an affidavit that video from the altercation shows Ponte spraying pepper spray into a crowd of antifa supporters and later “throwing a projectile into the crowd of Antifa supporters and patrons.” 

The same affidavit says video shows Cooper physically attacking members of antifa and attempting to start a fight with them.

Gibson, who is also captured on video during the fight, is charged with felony riot but has not accepted a plea deal. He and the remaining four defendants are scheduled to begin trial in March. If convicted, Gibson could face probation or jail time.  

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