‘This Cannot Go on in America’: Lawyer for Journalist Attacked by Antifa Plans to Take Action Against City Government

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
July 2, 2019 Updated: July 2, 2019

The attorney representing journalist Andy Ngo, who was assaulted by members of far-left extremist group Antifa during a protest in Portland, Oregon, said on July 2 that she intends to hold the city government and possibly its mayor liable for failing to protect one of its citizens.

“This cannot go on in America and I do intend to hold the city government and potentially the mayor liable to the fullest extent to the law,” attorney Harmeet K. Dhillon told Fox & Friends.

She added, “I’m going to sue everybody who the facts and the law support being sued.”

Ngo, who is known for extensively documenting Antifa violence, was brutally assaulted while he was covering one of the group’s protests on June 29. The scene was captured by a local reporter in video footage that shows Antifa members punching him in the face, kicking him, and hurling cups of a white substance at the journalist. Portland police later said the cups contained quick-drying cement mixed into milkshakes.

Epoch Times Photo
Andy Ngo, a Portland-based journalist, is seen covered in unknown substance after unidentified Rose City Antifa members attacked him in Portland, Oregon on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

The attack left Ngo bloodied and bruised. He was also required to stay in the hospital overnight due to a brain bleed. In a video after the attack, the journalist, who looked shaken and covered in the white liquid, said his attackers had also stolen his camera equipment.

During her July 2 interview, Dhillon said although several people were arrested on the day, those who attacked Ngo have not yet been arrested, adding that authorities are aware of some of the people involved.

Following the attack, the apparent lack of police intervention and presence during the incident came into the spotlight after videos of the incident circulated on social media.

Ngo also told Fox’s Tucker Carlson during an appearance on July 1 that the authorities did not provide him with much assistance.

“I kept thinking ‘where are the police.’ I could see the Multnomah county justice center but no police arrived,” Ngo said.

Portland Mayor and police commissioner Ted Wheeler was also criticized for the handling of the protests. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called for legal action and an investigation into Wheeler, who is also the police commissioner for the city, for allegedly ordering his police officers to maintain a supposed “hands-off” approach during the assaults.

“To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists,” Cruz wrote in his post.

In a series of social media posts on July 1, Wheeler condemned the violence at Portland over the weekend, calling it “unacceptable.”

“Over the weekend some chose to engage in violence in Portland, which is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Wheeler wrote. “We stand against all forms of violence—regardless of someone’s political leanings.”

“Portland police officers have the unenviable task of keeping the peace. It’s a difficult job and hard decisions are made in real-time. While we continue to learn more about what transpired over the weekend, we will keep you informed. We will do everything we can to make sure that those who have committed violence are held accountable,” he added.

Later in the day, Wheeler responded to Cruz’s allegations in a statement on Twitter by rejecting the claims.

“Dear [TedCruz], At least get your facts straight. I ordered no such thing. Could you divert some of those investigation dollars to something that would actually benefit American cities? Infrastructure, affordable housing, mental health services come to mind,” he wrote.

Dhillon commented on the police’s lack of preparation, adding that they should have anticipated the type of violent confrontation between protestors that would ensue due to similar events in the past.

“The situation on the ground in Portland and policing is so bad that the sheriffs of the adjoining counties have refused to send mutual aid to Portland because they don’t want their own officers to be attacked,” the lawyer told Fox & Friends.

“Portland has been consistently understaffed these types of incidents, and there have been many incidents. They knew they were aware that this was going to happen and they did nothing to prevent it,” she added.

She also called the mayor’s response to the violence as “empty platitudes.”

On July 1, Dhillon said in a statement that she plans to sue the Antifa extremists involved in the attack “into oblivion.”

“Goodnight everyone except Antifa criminals who I plan to sue into oblivion and then sow salt into their yoga studios and avocado toast stands until nothing grows there, not even the glimmer of a violent criminal conspiracy aided by the effete impotence of a cowed city government,” Dhillon wrote in the statement.

Hours after the attack, Dhillon took to social media to inform people that Ngo had been admitted into the hospital. She also took the opportunity to criticize those who were “gloating” about the incident.

a man covered with his face in blood walks in portland
An unidentified man injured by Antifa extremists at Pioneer Courthouse Square on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

“You sick ‘journalists’ and other hacks gloating about this should be ashamed. As for the rest, please pray for [Andy Ngo] who we need back in health—brave man!” she wrote.

Ngo’s employer, Quillette magazine, wrote in an editorial on June 30 saying Antifa had “attacked him for the simple reason that he has challenged their ideological propaganda—an Antifa tactic that any true fascist would recognize and applaud.”

Epoch Times Photo
The Rose City Antifa prepare to march in opposition to members of HimToo and Proud Boys in Portland, Oregon on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

Antifa’s origins can be traced back to the “anti-fascist” movement in Germany, which was part of the Soviet Union’s front operations to incite a communist revolution in the European country. In the United States, the group claims that its members are fighting fascism, but rarely do they confront actual fascists. Instead, their members, who are made up of communists, socialists, and other hard-left radicals, label parties and individuals who don’t align with their ideology as “fascists” to justify its use of violence against them.

The group has frequently made headlines for its violent attacks on opposing groups, particularly Trump supporters, whom they have branded as “fascists.”

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.