A videographer knifed near the scene of a protest outside Portland’s federal courthouse said Wednesday he was nearly killed over his right-wing politics and activism.
“I was stabbed for being a conservative journalist,” said Andrew Duncomb, 25, who films demonstrations and other political events under the moniker “Black Rebel.”
Duncomb, who is Black and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he had traveled last Friday to Portland from his home in Northern California to document the nightly unrest outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and county Justice Center.
He had a specific agenda in mind.
“My main goal was to show that it wasn’t just the feds creating the problems,” Duncomb said.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Portland to decry police brutality and systemic racism since the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police in late May. Trump sent federal forces into the city in early July to quell the turmoil, a move that only escalated tensions.
Often, the downtown protests — now in their 62nd consecutive day — have devolved late at night as some protesters lob fireworks, bottles and cans at the federal courthouse and federal officers, shine lasers in their eyes and try to dismantle a reinforced fence installed outside the courthouse.
Federal tactical officers, many dressed in camouflage fatigues, have respond with aggressive force, firing tear gas and impact munitions into the crowds and pushing people several blocks away.
Duncomb, who has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook, said that people familiar with his work had alerted activists to his presence at the protests shortly after he arrived. Originally from Oklahoma, his notoriety online has stemmed, in part, from his fervent defense of the Confederate flag and monuments.
The trouble started just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday when a group began trailing him and a few of his friends for several blocks, according to Duncomb and court records.
Duncomb said he eventually handed his video camera to a friend and decided to confront one of the men from the group.
“Someone’s stalking us,” the friend can be heard saying in the video as Duncomb approaches the man, who wore a respirator, goggles and a pair of brown Carhart overalls, near Southwest Salmon Street and Fourth Avenue.
“Hey buddy, why are you following us?” Duncomb says as he comes up from behind the man and wraps his arm around the man’s shoulder, the video shows.
The man then stabs Duncomb without saying a word, the video shows.
Duncomb said the blade entered his back between his rib cage and hip, just inches from his spinal cord.
“The adrenelline just soared through me,” he said. “I had a can of bear mace and a knife on me, too. But I didn’t want to endanger innocent bystanders.”
Duncomb was taken to OHSU Hospital and released Sunday, he said.
Police arrested Blake David Hampe, 43, at the scene, court records show. He told police that Duncomb had “set up” on him and tried to choke him, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Hampe faces charges of second-degree assault, a Measure 11 crime, and unlawful use of a weapon, records show. He remains in jail, pending a $250,000 bond.
A lawyer for Hampe was not listed in court records.
Duncomb said he is slowly recovering and hopes to return to covering protests soon.
“I wasn’t meant to die. It wasn’t my time to go,” he said. “I’m not going to let them intimidate me for going back out.”
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