Jesse Sponberg claims he punched counter-protester at Portland Airport
Jesse Sponberg, a Portland activist and former mayoral candidate, claims he's the one who knocked out a counter-protester at Portland International Airport last weekend.
The handful of counter-protesters known as the "Bible Believers" had shown up to several churches Sunday morning, voicing their anger for the parishioners' support of refugees.
"You're not true Christians!" one of the men yelled as the parishioners filmed the group outside St. Peter Catholic Church in SE Portland. "You're going to Hell!"
The group then made its way to a protest at PDX Sunday afternoon, where hundreds of people showed up to voice their support for refugees and their disdain for Pres. Trump's executive order.
The protest stayed relatively calm until the group of Bible Believers got into an argument with protesters and a chant of "Nazi scum, [expletive] off" broke out.
At that point, someone threw a punch at one of the Bible Believers named Grant Chisholm, who was knocked to the ground. The story quickly made national headlines.
“Even as I hit the ground they are calling me Nazis and all this crazy stuff,” Chisolm told KATU News earlier this week.
When asked if he was egging the protesters on, Chisholm said, “No, not at all.”
Chisholm claims his group was non-violent, but one of the protesters, Cameron Whitten, claims one of the Bible Believers grabbed a woman by the hair and threw her down.
Since then, it's been a mystery as to who threw the punch... until now.
Sponberg posted a video, claiming he's the one who punched Chisholm. The news was first reported by KATU's news partners at Willamette Week.
"They are violent bullies who had gone too far, with nobody else stopping them from creating another violent situation," Sponberg said. "Either way, I'm going to need a good lawyer."
Sponberg turned himself in to Port of Portland Police Thursday afternoon.
About 45 minutes later, Sponberg and his attorney David DenHartigh left PDX. DenHartigh says no charges have been filed, and it’s not clear if any will be filed in the future.
Chisholm called Sponberg's claims a publicity stunt.
"He wants to continue to be in the limelight because he failed as being the sheriff, he failed as trying to be the mayor," Chisholm told KATU News Thursday. "The problem is, you look at this guy's track record and what he has been involved in. It's not good. He does not have any platform to talk about morality whatsoever."
Sponberg didn't comment on the incident when KATU News contacted him on Thursday. DenHartigh, however, told KATU he is confident in their case.
“We want to find out what happened,” DenHartigh said.
DenHartigh is asking witnesses who saw the altercation to send viewer video to email@example.com
A Port of Portland Police spokesperson told KATU they are aware of Sponberg’s claims. They say it’s an open investigation and cannot comment further.