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Last week the Portland City Council approved a financial payment to an antifa extremist with a history of supporting terrorist attacks on law enforcement after he alleged in a lawsuit his civil rights were violated by Portland Police. The city settled nearly $23,000 with James Mathew Mattox, 31, who filed a complaint saying police injured him and stifled his rights during a riot in 2018.
On Aug. 4, 2018, Mattox and hundreds of left-wing protesters, including masked antifa militants, clashed with police and right-wing protesters in downtown Portland. Police made several arrests that day and confiscated numerous melee weapons. When left-wing protesters refused to clear the streets during the civil disturbance, police used pepper spray, rubber bullets and flash bangs to disperse the crowd.
According to Mattox’s own lawsuit, filed with two other Portlanders who allege injuries caused by police, he was masked, dressed in black bloc and carrying a shield with an anarchist symbol during the civil disturbance. As police were trying to disperse rioters, Mattox waved his shield and arms in the air, flipped off police and shouted profanities at them. The lawsuit says Mattox was first hit in the thigh with a rubber projectile fired by an officer. “Look you missed!” Mattox taunted the police. A second rubber projectile was then allegedly fired, hitting his arm and causing a laceration. The complaint says Mattox “suffered sharp pain, insomnia, and limitations in functioning and movement for weeks,” resulting in him missing work.
Mattox’s case was quickly picked up by left-wing activists and antifa who accused the police of using excessive force in moving left-wing protesters from the street. And while the city opted to reach a financial agreement with Mattox and his lawyers last week, newly uncovered posts written by Mattox raise questions if he “posed no threat of violence,” as claimed in the lawsuit.
Using the moniker “Jack Johnstone,” named after a prominent early Communist Party USA member, Mattox made numerous posts on social media expressing support for terrorist attacks on law enforcement. In a September 2016 Facebook post, Mattox named Christopher Jordan Dorner, Micah Xavier Johnson and Gavin Eugene Long as his “personal heroes.” Dorner launched a series of shootings in Southern California in February 2013 that targeted police officers and their families. He killed four and injured three. Johnson was a New Black Panther Party member who killed five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in July 2016. Long, a black separatist, shot six police officers, killing three, in Baton Rouge, La. the same month.
In January 2017, Mattox thanked Dallas shooter Micah Johnson for “killing pigs” in response to a report about a hiring crisis in the Dallas Police Department.
From 2016 onwards, Mattox’s social media posts became increasingly radical. He posted “F— the police” and “ACAB” (all cops are bastards) on numerous occasions. In one instance, he posted the contact information of a Portland Police sergeant and encouraged comrades to harass him. He also expressed an intense hatred of Portland mayor Ted Wheeler, apparently because he felt he did not sufficiently support far-left causes. In March 2017, Mattox made a disturbing cryptic post: “What people don’t understand is we’ve tried it Ted’s way with no results. Now it’s our way.” There were several extremely violent antifa riots in Portland that year. In a February 2018 post, Mattox urged his comrades to “not disarm.” The post was accompanied by the hashtag, “#SignsDontMakeTyrantsBleed.” Six months later, Mattox was allegedly injured by Portland Police at the August 2018 antifa riot that sparked his civil rights complaint.
Mattox has been arrested several times in Portland at violent protests and was filmed on at least one occasion resisting arrest. Most notably, he was one of dozens arrested during rioting in Portland after Donald Trump’s presidential election win in November 2016.
Mayor Wheeler’s office declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Attorneys representing Mattox have been reached for comment.