Tusitala “Tiny” Toese will serve nearly eight years in prison for his involvement in a 2021 Proud Boys brawl with antifascists, after a sentencing decision by Judge Amy Baggio Friday, July 21.
Toese, 27, was found guilty in March on 10 assault, weapons, mischief, and similar charges stemming from a far-right rally at an abandoned Kmart building on August 22, 2021, at Northeast Sandy Boulevard and 122nd Avenue in Portland. The same lot was the site of a fire earlier this week.
Toese was arrested on a warrant in January 2022 and later found guilty of two counts each of second and third-degree assault, unauthorized use of a weapon, riot, and first-degree criminal mischief. During the 2021 rally, which was all but guaranteed to escalate into a brawl with counterprotesters, rally organizers, along with other far right groups, showed up with paintball guns, bats, clubs, and bear mace, anticipating a fight with antifascists.
The violent event took place on a Sunday afternoon and eventually made its way to the Parkrose High School parking lot. The brawl saw no police presence–a decision that was initially defended by Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, but later criticized by Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Prosecutors say Antifa protesters were “immediately attacked” by Proud Boys when they showed up at the rally. Video from the rally-turned-riot showed Toese shooting a paintball gun at antifascist protesters, attacking another person in a parked vehicle, and assisting others in tipping over an empty van parked nearby. He was later charged along with Justin Glidden and Miles Furrow.
Toese’s assault charges mainly stemmed from his attack on Mark Nunziata, who was sitting in his car in a parking lot at Parkrose High School. Toese reportedly saw Nunziata and yelled “He is Antifa!” before smashing out the driver’s side window with a baseball bat and with a group, attacking Nunziata repeatedly with multiple weapons, according to prosecutors.
“During this rally, Toese gave various speeches and incited the crowd with statements like, ‘When Antifa shows up, show them no mercy,’” prosecutors from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office noted in a news release Friday.
Toese is well-known for his affiliation with the Proud Boys, a neofascist extremist group often involved in far-right political demonstrations. Most recently, four members of the Proud Boys were convicted of seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Prior to the 2021 riot, Toese was also charged with assault in Multnomah County for attacking a man in Northeast Portland in 2018. Before that, he was arrested on similar charges in 2017 for an attack at a political rally He was on probation at the time.
During his criminal trial in March, Senior Deputy District Attorney Nathan Vasquez told the court Toese deeply hated Antifa, as did other members of the Proud Boys. Vasquez said Toese played on that hatred to incite violence, citing Toese’s “long-term involvement in violent activity” as justification for a longer sentence.