A Christian mother of eight whose baby was nearly wounded when Antifa threw a flash bomb in the direction of the child's face is speaking out against the media's failure to cover the violence that's long been perpetrated by the far-left group in Portland and across the U.S.
Were it not for a friend’s intervention, Jamee Anatello’s 8-month-old daughter could have faced serious injury from a flash bomb that Antifa threw at Christians attending a rally in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 7. Anatello’s friend put her arm in front of the infant’s face, suffering bruises as well as welts and blisters on her arm, hands and feet.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who's gained notoriety for documenting his encounters with law enforcement officials who've been accused of selectively enforcing COVID-19 gathering restrictions in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, headlined the Courageous Truth Conference, a prayer and worship event that took place at Tom McCall Park on the Portland waterfront.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Anatello, who attended the event with five of her eight children, recalled how the presence of Antifa at the gathering caught her by surprise: “I’ve always judged the events really well … what’s safe to take my kids to, what’s not.”
“It never once crossed my mind that this would be an event they would show up to,” she added. Anatello told CP that Antifa militants showed up at Tom McCall Park “before the event even started.” Noting that she arrived “20 to 30 minutes early,” Anatello estimated that “there was probably more Antifa” there than Christians gathered for the event.
Anatello lamented the local media’s lack of interest in her story. Describing Antifa as “dangerous” and stressing that “they need to be stopped,” Anatello said local media elected to focus on the alleged presence of the Proud Boys — a group frequently labeled by critics as a white supremacist organization, even though they are less white than Antifa and led by an Afro-Cuban — at the event in the days following the attack.
“No local media has taken my story. I spoke with two different stations and they rejected it,” she said. “I believe that the reason they have not taken my story is because the narrative around here is that the Proud Boys are white supremacists when they’re not. And people around here just refuse to name Antifa as dangerous.”
Anatello slammed the media for perpetuating what she characterized as an inaccurate portrayal of Antifa: “Antifa has been praised as being … not just anti-fascist … they care about Black Lives Matter. … They’ve been seen on video harassing and being violent toward gay people, Asians, black people, transgenders, and the media has stayed silent toward that. … I want people to know that … that is who they are. They are racist and … dangerous.”
Anatello confronted the local media as they gathered to cover a city press conference on Friday: “Every single local news station denied my story!” she exclaimed. “You rejected it in favor of one man with an airsoft gun. No Proud Boys were present that day.”
She mentioned that Antifa has been working to get her husband, who has a show on Facebook and YouTube called "The Black Conservative Preacher," to “lose his job.” A man with Antifa, whose supporters were among the audience, shouted at Anatello, saying, “your husband is very dangerous,” a claim that she firmly pushed back on.
Anatello and her husband, who were both at the prayer event, started recording video after a flash bomb nearly struck their daughter. They also captured footage showing Antifa throwing numerous flash grenades at the crowd.
The traumatic experience also had an impact on some of Anatello’s older children, which she elaborated on during her interview with CP: “It sent my 7-year-old into a state of shock. My 9-year-old was covered in pepper gas, and he touched his eye and it began burning and he was crying in a panic, not knowing what to do.”
Before Antifa deployed a flash bomb that nearly struck her daughter, Anatello reported that they were chanting “hail Satan” and screaming, “Where’s your God now?” The mother responded to the militants by declaring: “He’s watching every move you make.”
Anatello remains unsure if the flash bomb was targeted at her and her family in retaliation for her remarks because “we were already under attack.”
“My husband was standing in front of me and our children, and he was actually trying to catch some of the eggs and other things they were throwing to stop them from hitting us. And in the video, I show that we are dead center to the place that they were directing their projectiles, whatever they were throwing. They were throwing several different things: eggs, paint, bottles filled with feces and explosives.”
Anatello explained that despite Antifa’s efforts to shut down the event, Pawlowski and others still addressed the crowd. By the time he had started speaking, however, she had already left to go “to a coffee shop to wash up and seek safety.” Her husband remained at the event and live-streamed Pawlowski’s speech.
As a resident of Portland, Anatello has had frequent encounters with Antifa. After telling CP that “every encounter has been verbally abusive in some way,” she detailed a specific exchange where she made “close contact” with the militants last year.
“We went downtown last year … this was during the day so everybody was at work but already after the downtown parks had been .... destroyed and burned and we took our ‘Trust Jesus’ banner down there,” she recalled. “The Antifa members saw us out and started spray-painting on the ground in front of us, and they kept getting closer and closer and I asked them to please stop because the spray-paint was going into my child’s face and they blamed me for … being in downtown.”
Anatello, born and raised in Portland, has seriously considered moving out of the city, which was a hotspot for violence last summer, including the murder of a Trump supporter at the hands of a man who identified as an Antifa and BLM activist.
Clashes between right-wing and left-wing groups have become a common occurrence in Oregon’s largest city. Just this past weekend, Fox 12 Oregon reported that left-wing protesters descended on a right-wing “Summer of Love” rally where the two groups threw fireworks, smoke bombs and paintballs at each other.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org