Then the mob started throwing milkshakes, other liquids, eggs, and other hard objects at my face [and] my head. That literally blinded me for the moment.
This is my issue with those who work in mainstream media who think milkshaking is a cute form of political descend. It’s not, it literally marks you out for a mob to target at you, as what happened to me.
So the video that’s gone viral, that’s the second half of the attack, there were more punches. Even though we were steps away from the central police precinct and the sheriff’s office, at no point did I ever receive help from police.
Trinko: What were you thinking? Especially if you’d never been in a fight. I might be projecting here because I’m a total coward, but were you afraid for your life at all? What was going through your mind?
Ngo: I think by this fifth and sixth hit to my head and face, I was in fear of my life because I was kept thinking, “OK, the last punch was the last one,” but it kept coming and the people who beat me were not just punching me with their hands. I have to make sure your listeners know that they were wearing tactical gloves that have hardened fiberglass materials on the knuckles. So it’s almost like getting hit with bricks.
After that, an ambulance was called for me and I was taken to the ER. I had all these abrasions on my head and contusions all over. They did a CT scan, which confirmed … the diagnosis of the subarachnoid hemorrhage, also known as a brain bleed.
Since then, while the bruising and cuts have mostly healed, I’m going to continue to have some neurological challenges for the coming months.
Trinko: Are you comfortable discussing all of what those challenges are?
Ngo: Yeah. If you watch any one of my interviews at various times, depending on if it’s edited or not, you will see that I am unable to finish certain sentences.
So I have these, I call them cognitive hiccups, where I can’t finish the sentence or I don’t recall a very common word. So it’s memory issues and this was really scary to be confronted with.
I remember, when I was in the ER and I didn’t know the extent of my injuries, I was concealed, I was like, “Am I going to have scarring all over my face?” And that’s pills completely in comparison to a brain injury.
Trinko: Very scary. So what was the police responsible for during the attack and afterward?
Ngo: There was none during the attack. And you asked me what was I thinking. I was thinking at any point police are going to come in and take me out and help me. That never happened.
I could actually, in the beginning parts of the beatings, still see the Justice Center, which is the building that houses the central police precinct. And … there are a number of variables that have made Portland this hotbed of far-left militant violence in that the city is a political monoculture, a progressive monoculture and anti-police sentiment is a norm. So you have that as a variable.
Another is that the mayor, who is up for re-election, also doubles as a police commissioner. So you can see the potential for conflict of interest.
After my beating on June 29, and I wasn’t the only one injured, there were other very severe injuries because after I was beat—I believe I was the first person who was beaten—the rioting continued in another part of downtown where militants used weapons such as a crowbar.
So this happens, it’s my perception that there’s systemic issues in policing and governance and the head of the police union issued a statement after June 29 calling for the mayor to remove the handcuffs of police.
It does seem like there are stand-down orders in some form, maybe not and in the literal command, but limiting resources for that day even though Antifa projects and announces their plans for physical confrontation, also known as premeditated violence.
We’ve been dealing with this over and over and over for several years now in Portland and really nothing has changed.
Every few months, another citizen—this time it was myself, before it was an elderly driver, there’s been another person who happened to bring an American flag to a demonstration. It’s just like, “Does somebody have to die before something changes?”
I get asked sometimes by those who are on the left, they’ll bring up the point, “Well, Antifa hasn’t killed anybody.” Whereas in Charlottesville, somebody was murdered.
Do we have to wait for there to be parity before we start caring? Actually, that’s not even true anymore. Just a week and a half ago, an Antifa militant in Tacoma, Washington, which is not far from Portland, firebombed a government facility and attempted to ignite a 500-gallon propane tank and came with a rifle and got killed in the process.
He left a manifesto and the manifesto very clearly outlines his ideology calling for his comrades to take up arms. He borrows language seemingly taken from a person in Congress, and this wasn’t headline news, and I was shocked that there’s just so much ignorance about what Antifa is.
I think, from a distance, you can watch the videos of the street hooliganism and find it almost comical to be there, to have it directed at yourself and to be familiar with what they’re actually agitating for.
It is a scary and dangerous ideology movement. And I think the mainstream media base all the way in D.C. or in New York City are just unaware and they just think that these are noble antifascists who are fighting Nazis on the streets. That’s not what’s happening.
Trinko: It’s interesting you mentioned that because, of course, yes, there is this perception among mainstream media that, “Oh, conservative media is obsessed with Antifa, but it’s just a weird obsession and shouldn’t be covered.”
Similar to you, I wasn’t actually there when Antifa, or believed to be Antifa, took action in D.C. after Trump’s inauguration. But I remember seeing the photos rolling and I was like, “Oh my gosh, there’s people burning cars in downtown D.C. This is insane.” And I couldn’t believe how little coverage it got.
So you’ve spent years covering Antifa.Why do you think they’re newsworthy and what do you think their goal is?
Ngo: Their stated goal, they’re quite open about it. If you speak to the ideologues or read the writings of their ideologues, is revolution and it’s, in particular, their political ideology is anarcho-communism.
So some are more anarchist than others. Some are more communists than others.
They believe that the United States is an irredeemable country, literally irredeemable. And the targeting of police as well as border enforcement as well as even the concept of sovereignty is all strategic toward their goal.
The violence on the streets is meant to polarize citizens against each other as well as, in the case of Portland, to break down the law enforcement and that’s happened as well among those on the left and on the right.
Of course, the United States has such strong institutions that they’re not going to achieve an Antifa revolution. No, I’m not one of those people who are coming out and saying that this is a existential threat. However, where there are threats is that they’ve been able and are able to mainstream and normalize aspects of their ideology and tactics.
For example, I brought up the normalization and political violence earlier and that’s something I think they have had much success on. When “Punch a Nazi” became a cute meme, that had quite widespread support. … It’s understandable, who wants to be sympathetic for a literal neo-Nazi?
But then what happens next is Antifa applies to the label of far-right or a Nazi or a Fascist very carelessly. They’ve applied it to me in materials that they put out naming me, for example, and others who are categorically not far-right or Fascist or Nazis.
More recently is the milkshaking thing. Even in respectable publications, describing it as a nonviolent form of political dissent.
Trinko: Milkshaking, to be clear, is when people throw an actual milkshake. I know the Portland Police said they had seen cement, but you haven’t seen that. Right?
Ngo: That was a tweet that was put up by Portland Police. That was a lieutenant who observed material in a cup that he said the consistency and the smell was consistent with a caustic material similar to quick dry cement.
However, the Portland Police did not keep that cop as evidence to test it. So this has been to the date unconfirmed and it’s been used sort of as a red herring to throw off the conversation. Milkshakes, tainted or not, the point of it is to mock you for mobbing, essentially.
And when I look at, watch the videos over and over of what happened to me and see the pictures, it’s very humiliating. But at the same time, I’ve been forcing myself to continue to do all of these media engagements because I want the public to see the brutality of this movement and to recognize that they’ve been buying into a false narrative of this being a noble anti-fascist group of people.