San Diego prosecutors have filed charges against at least 10 Antifa members who allegedly attempted to interfere with a pro-Trump rally earlier this year using “violent criminals acts.”
“Video evidence analysis shows that overwhelmingly the violence in this incident was perpetrated by the Antifa affiliates and was not a mutual fray with both sides crossing out of lawful First Amendment expression into riot and violence,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office in a news release, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The individuals charged “are self-identified to be affiliated with Anti-fascists or Antifa” who gathered Jan. 9 in the city to engage in “direct action” against a pro-Trump “Patriot March,” the district attorney’s office added.
Direct action is legally defined as “acts of violence such as assault, battery, assault with deadly weapons, arson, and vandalism,” said the DA’s office.
San Diego police declared that the assembly was unlawful the day the two groups clashed.
On Monday, reports noted that at least seven people were arraigned after a series of raids Thursday in Southern California that led to their arrests.
The Union-Tribune reported that the suspects face assault, conspiracy to commit riot, and illegal use of tear gas charges. Prosecutors have accused the Antifa members of using flag poles, sticks, tear gas, and other items as weapons to attack supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The paper said the case is reportedly the first use of conspiracy charges against suspected members of the violent Antifa movement.
According to a social media post that appears to match a description of the attacks, an alleged Antifa suspect is seen pepper-spraying a man and his dog.
“A videographer based out of Los Angeles also recorded some altercations involving pepper spray and a wooden folding chair, which matches an attack described by prosecutors,” Fox News added.
One of the Antifa groups involved in the altercations earlier this year came from San Diego, while another group reportedly met in Los Angeles a week before the rally, the criminal complaint states.
They stand accused of spreading a Jan. 2 social media post that called for a counterprotest to the Trump-aligned rally, “in essence agreeing to take part in the ‘direct action,'” says the complaint. “Others agreed by showing up in Pacific Beach on January 9th, 2021 and participating in the violence,” prosecutors added.
The individuals arraigned on Monday were Luis Francisco Mora, 30; Joseph Austin Gaskins, 21; Faraz Martin Talab, 27; Bryan Rivera, 21; Brian Lightfoot, 25; and Jesse Merel Cannon, 31; Jeremy Jonathan White, 39.
The Union-Tribune added that police have also obtained a warrant for Erich Louis Yach, 37.
Many of Trump’s supporters at the January rally held signs and flags with slogans such as “Stop The Steal” and “Trump 2020,” Fox News reported.
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.