PORTLAND, Ore. — For more than 50 nights, Gabriel Johnson, 48, a retired Marine, has been kept awake by the sounds of rioting and explosions taking place outside his window in Portland, Ore. After two months of living in fear, at 3 a.m. Sunday he had enough.
“At that point I [had] counted 82 explosions and just thought, you know, somebody has to do something,” Johnson said, Fox News reported.
Johnson lives only a block away from the chaos occurring at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland. It has become the epicenter of violence, which has overtaken the city. As a result, Johnson marched into the mayhem with his American flag in hand.
Although the retired Marine knew his actions would be divisive to some, he was not prepared for the reaction he received.
“I was being called the N-word by black people. People were chasing me around with baseball bats,” Johnson told Fox News.
Among the many startling things he witnessed, one in particular shocked him the most.
“Antifa has infiltrated Black Lives Matter,” Johnson said as he described a woman dressed in Black Lives Matter gear who showed him threatening footage of protesters following him back to his home, and letting him know they were keeping tabs on him. According to Johnson, this woman was also holding an Antifa pen and was communicating with others via walkie-talkie.
“These people have nothing to do with black lives. Our black community leaders need to stand up and lead because what’s happening is they’re letting a group of terrorists that don’t represent me use me, and that’s not right,” said Johnson.
Moreover, another scene that left him distressed was seeing a 65-year-old black veteran attempt to stop the burning of Johnson’s flag, only to be beaten by alleged Black Lives Matter protesters.
“He said, ‘there’s no way you’re gonna burn this flag.’ That was followed up by Black Lives Matter, black men, running after this man, punching him in his face, grabbing the flag and throwing it over the fence,” said Johnson as he emotionally recalled the horrific incident.
The lifelong Portland resident blames the destruction on local leadership, Fox reported.
“The lack of police response, city response, response from our mayor has just given free rein to holy hell to take place at that 11 o’clock hour to 3 in the morning.”
Furthermore, Johnson doesn’t oppose the federal assistance sent in by the Trump administration.
“In absence of the local police what do we expect?” he said. “If we as a city aren’t going to police ourselves, then we should expect someone to come in and police for us.”
“I look at everything from a patriot’s point of view. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting for our country. And so my belief in and my patriotism for this country is unmeasured … I fought for this country and this is not what I fought for,” said Johnson.