Facebook took down the accounts of the conservative Patriot Prayer group as well as Joey Gibson, the groups leader, and several supporters.
“They were removed as part of our ongoing efforts to remove Violent Social Militias from our platform,” Sally Aldous, a Facebook spokesperson, told The Epoch Times via email.
In a statement on Parler, Gibson said: “Antifa groups murdered my friend while he was walking home, and instead of the multibillion dollar company (FACEBOOK) banning Portland antifa pages they ban Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, and several other grandmas that are admins.”
Antifa member Michael Reinoehl was named a suspect in the Aug. 29 killing of Patriot Prayer supporter Aaron Danielson before being fatally shot by law enforcement officers trying to apprehend him last week.
Gibsons lawyer, Angus Lee, told The Oregonian that Facebooks decision showed a “very serious demonstration of the unchecked power of electronic oligarchs to control information.”
“Obviously, Mr. Gibson is very upset right now and feels as though there is an effort to silence him,” Lee added.
Aldous pointed to Facebook removing groups, pages, and ads related to Antifa as part of a mass action taken last month.
At the time, the company said it was taking action against “accounts tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations and QAnon,” a movement that advances a number of claims, including that members of the worlds social, economic, and political elites have engaged in child sex trafficking, abuse, and cannibalism.
Some of the accounts “may identify as Antifa,” the company stated.
Gibson and others linked to Patriot Prayer took part in a pro-President Donald Trump rally the day that Danielson was shot dead.
According to police officials, the event had concluded before the shooting.
Danielson was a Portland resident, Gibson said last week, explaining why he was still in the city when he was shot.
Gibson denounced smears of his friend, saying people calling him a racist or other negative terms didnt know him.
“The only thing that they can ever do to Jay is call him a racist because he lived an amazing life. So they cant talk about specific examples of who he was and what he did, quotes of him saying hateful things because there is nothing. They cant show him being violent because he wasnt violent. They cant show anything on him, except just claim that hes some sort of white supremacist,” Gibson said.
Patriot Prayer has engaged in violent clashes with Antifa and other groups in the past, primarily in Portland.
Gibson was one of six people charged with inciting a riot on May 1, 2019, between his group and Antifa. Video footage showed him pushing a woman with Antifa, police said in an affidavit (pdf). He has pleaded not guilty.
Two men entered pleas and were sentenced.
Christopher Ryan Ponte, 38, pleaded no contest to felony riot and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years of probation, and banned from protests.
Ponte, who police said was associated with Patriot Prayer, started a group called Oregon Cop Block that seeks to film police officers while they do their jobs.
Later in 2019, Ponte was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court records.