News Analysis Jul 10, 2021 9:41 PM EST

Portland Antifa journalist discredited following investigation by district attorney

Despite a history of Antifa sympathies, Donovan Farley argues the police knew he was a journalist and plans to sue the city of Portland.

Portland Antifa journalist discredited following investigation by district attorney
Nick Monroe Cleveland, Ohio
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A District Attorney's Office in Oregon has declined to press charges against an officer who allegedly hit an far-left activist-journalist with his baton and pepper-sprayed him.

A newly unearthed memo about the Portland Police Bureau investigation into the matter cites footage they claim shows the journalist in question trying to provoke the officer into a fight.

According to a report from the Portland Tribune, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute Officer Cameron Smith of the PPB, who pepper-sprayed journalist Donovan Farley and hit him with a baton in June of last year.

A video from the Chapman Square area shows Farley filming police arresting someone before one officer turns their attention to him and the clash takes place. It's dated to June 6th 2020, 11:45 PM.

District Attorney Mike Schmidt (known to be lenient with protest and riot related offenses) decided not to pursue charges of second-degree unlawful use of mace and fourth-degree attempted assault, citing “insufficient evidence.”

A follow-up by Willamette Week details the investigation by the Portland Police Bureau into the matter.

An October 2020 memo calls Farley’s recollection of the incident “demonstrably inaccurate,” referring to footage from a bureau criminalist named Jason Mills. They claim this video shows Farley trying to get Officer Cameron Smith to fight him.

“Officer Smith strikes Mr. Farley in the leg with his baton after which Mr. Farley says, ‘Take that shit off, motherf**ker! Take that shit off!’” the memo describes.

In the initial testimony given by Farley last year, he said he was first drawn to the Justice Center area because he heard a protester say they couldn’t breathe.

It was only after being pepper sprayed that Farley turned around and walked away. The PPB memo said the use of force by Smith was necessary because he was “attempting to arrest Mr. Farley who had just tried to punch him.”

The memo outlines efforts by a PPB Detective to interview Farley about the altercation. They couldn’t find his phone number, but found his address and sent a certified letter.

Donovan Farley never responded to any outreach by the authorities.

The PPB memo also cites the fact that Farley posted on social media about the cops trying to talk with him.

“To date, Mr. Farley has not responded to Detective Traynor, and there is nothing to indicate that he has made contact with any law enforcement agency regarding the incident. Based on the inconsistencies between Mr. Farley’s written account of what transpired and the video recordings available for review, the state is unable to conclude that a crime was committed.”

Farley told the Portland Tribune he never contacted law enforcement so in the first place because he thought the cops would have treated him unfairly.

"It's totally and unequivocally false that I would try to fight a police officer," he said. "The guy was abdicating his duty and trying to prevent me from doing my job."

Online, Mr. Farley denies that he’s an “Antifa journalist.”

“‘Antifa journalist’? I got you taken out do the New York Times, little Pinocchio,” Farley said to The Post Millennial's editor-at-large Andy Ngo.

It’s unclear what Farley means by “I got you taken out.”

In August 2017 he invited Richard Spencer to Portland for a brawl. "I'd like to invite him to PDX w/o a cop escort," he said. “I can totally arrange a [Antifa] welcome committee to test his theories."

This points to Donovan Farley being capable of organizing far-left activists to beat people up.

“I got you taken out” could be a reference to the ambush of Andy Ngo in June 2019. It was at a Portland protest that day when Ngo got pelted with several milkshakes.

Farley went on to write an in-depth puff piece for Playboy painting Antifa’s actions there in a positive light. Ironically, Farley cited “insufficient evidence” about the milkshakes distributed that day as having any hardening agent or cement in them.

He even interviewed Antifa leader Alisha Berry (who used the pseudonym Effie Baum and organized the Antifa event where attendees assaulted people with liquids) about it. “We definitely weren’t advocating throwing them at people, but we weren’t naive enough to think it might not happen.”

On Twitter, Donovan Farley admitted his agenda was making the Antifa brand more palatable for a mainstream audience.

Back in December 2019:

“This article is about the misconceptions of antifa and why they exist. They exist in part bc of the messaging issues. Saying ACAB doesn't help with that in terms of square people's understanding of the movement. It turns them off. These are facts.”

“If "you'd like to see antifa gain more mainstream acceptance"—the point of the article—then perhaps you should adjust your understanding of what journalism is and reflect upon the fact that twitter and activist circles ain't the real world chief.”

These statements demonstrating activism, rather than journalism, don’t bode well for Farley’s lawsuit against the city of Portland.

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