Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer, was hit with pepper spray during a rally outside Olympia’s Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday morning, according to Olympia Police Lt. Sam Costello.
“No one was taken into custody,” Costello said. “(The) suspect was a member of a group of counter protesters who were masked.”
About three Patriot Prayer protesters showed up to hold a rally that was set to begin a 10 a.m. outside the clinic at 402 Legion Way SE, according to Costello. In a video message on Facebook, Gibson said his group wanted to show support for a group of anti-abortion protesters who demonstrate at the clinic on a weekly basis.
Gibson’s group was met by about 30 counter-protesters, he said.
“Patriot Prayer members were there for a time, but left after the pepper spray incident,” Costello said.
Gibson, a right-wing activist from Vancouver, Washington, and his group held a rally at The Evergreen State College in Olympia on June 15. He is known for organizing pro-Trump free speech rallies in left-leaning West Coast communities.
“I’m fine,” he told The Olympian Friday evening. “It hurt, like, really bad for a while.”
However, he said he has been pepper sprayed at about 20 different events, so he should have brought eye protection.
Gibson said Patriot Prayer was invited to rally in support of the anti-abortion protesters. He said the group of protesters are elderly and are often met by counterprotesters who are much younger and act aggressively toward them.
“The goal is to kind of bring some attention to what’s going on down there,” Gibson said.