An Oregon antifa activist was sentenced Friday to nearly six years in prison for using an expandable baton to crack the skull of another man at a June melee pitting right-wing activists against protesters from the left-wing anarchist group.
Gage Halupowski, 24, of Oregon City received 70 months after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in connection with the June 29 attack on Adam Kelly in Portland.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said that as Mr. Kelly moved away from the crowd, “law enforcement witnessed a person, later identified as Halupowski, run up behind Mr. Kelly and strike him on the top of the head with an expandable metal baton.”
“This was a powerful strike to the head,” said the Saturday press release.
Mr. Kelly, who was shown on video being kicked, sprayed and struck by masked black-clad activists, said on Facebook that he suffered a concussion and needed 25 staples to close gashes on his head.
At least eight people, including conservative journalist Andy Ngo, were injured as hundreds of protesters, including those affiliated with Rose City Antifa, descended on downtown Portland to counter a rally by a few dozen right-wing activists.
Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero said the “sound of the blow was sickening and caused people who heard it to gasp.”
“The intentionality of Mr. Halupowski was extremely egregious and the injuries to Mr. Kelly could have been much worse,” she said in a statement.
Defense attorney Edward Kroll said his client “did a very terrible thing and made a horrible choice,” but argued the sentence was excessive, which he attributed to Oregon’s mandatory-minimum law, Measure 11.
“My take on the case is, yes, prison time was almost certainly warranted in this case,” Mr. Kroll told The Washington Times. “But I also think that sending a 24-year-old with no history away for at least 4-1/2 to five years, if not more — I think that’s too harsh in this particular circumstance.”
He said Halupowski was sentenced to “70 months soft,” which means he will be eligible for earned time off for good behavior and the possibility for transitional leave.
Prosecutors considered a first-degree assault charge, which would have carried a sentence of up to 90 months, although it would have been more difficult to prove, he said.
“He’s a kid who made a really, really dumb decision, and he got caught up in the political back-and-forth,” Mr. Kroll said. “And that’s no excuse for what he did, certainly. This was a conscious choice that he made, and he’s paying the price for it.”
No arrests have been made in the attack on Mr. Ngo, who was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage after activists struck him and hurled “milkshakes” at him as he walked away.