Navy Veteran Says He 'Wasn't a Human' to Portland Federal Agents Who Beat Him

A Navy veteran whose beating by federal agents in Portland was captured in a viral video says he "wasn't a human being" to them.

Portland resident Christopher David was seen being beaten with a baton and pepper sprayed in the face in a video shared on Twitter by Zane Sparling, a reporter with The Portland Tribune, during protests at the weekend.

The 53-year-old was dubbed "Captain Portland" after standing his ground, unflinchingly taking baton blows and only walking away after being sprayed in the eyes. He wrote on Twitter afterwards that he was left with a broken hand and would require surgery.

Now, David has revealed to ABC News that a federal officer had pointed a semi-automatic weapon at his chest before the beating that was captured on video.

"As they came to me, one of the officers leveled a semi-automatic weapon in my direction, pointed at my chest... and then another officer came and plowed into me," he said.

He added that federal agents, deployed by President Donald Trump to the city to quell violence, had treated him like he wasn't human. "I wasn't a human being [to them]. I was just a protester," he said.

"If they're gonna gas pregnant moms, they're going to beat up an old vet. It doesn't matter to them," he added.

David also said he wants to use his 15 minutes of fame to refocus attention back on the point of the protests, which have roiled Portland for more than seven weeks since the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police.

He dismissed himself as "just an old white guy who got beat up" and said the attention paid to him has been "overblown."

David also said the incident wouldn't have attracted as much attention if he had been Black—and says he wants to turn the attention back to Black Lives Matter.

"I want to use my 15 minutes to put out a message to my fellow vets. I also want to use my 15 minutes to try to refocus this whole discussion back to Black Lives Matter as opposed to an old white guy who got beat up because I don't think I'm worth the attention, to be perfectly frank," he told the network.

He added that he doesn't think his beating would have attracted as much attention if he had been Black.

"I was an old white guy that got beaten down," he said. "If I had been a Black veteran that had gotten beaten down, do you think I would have gotten as much attention as I did?"

David also said that he still doesn't know what agency the officer who beat him is from.

In a statement to the network, the U.S. Marshals Service said David had posed a threat to federal agents "by continuing to approach them" and that "less-than-lethal force was deployed only until the individual retreated."

Afterwards, David took to Twitter to say he didn't want money or gifts, but wanted help starting fundraisers for the street medics who helped him and for Black Lives Matter. A GoFundMe page set up on his behalf for street medics has raised almost $20,000 in two days.

Portland
A crowd of protesters gather around a newly-reinforced permitter fence outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 22, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Nathan Howard/Getty Images
Navy Veteran Says He 'Wasn't a Human' to Portland Federal Agents Who Beat Him | U.S.