Tag Archives: California

Documents reveal California law enforcement working with neo-Nazis against anti-fascist groups

In 2016, violence broke out between anti-fascist protestors and neo-Nazis at a Sacramento, California neo-Nazi rally. Ten people were injured, five of them stabbed.

Demonstrators battled with sticks, protest signs and other weapons as the Traditionalist Worker Party group – which said it wanted to assist supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump – began setting up for a scheduled noon rally on the west steps of the Capitol.

Even before the event began, clashes broke out at numerous locations around the Capitol grounds among the 400 people gathered for and against the rally, which had been heavily promoted – and denounced – in recent days on various websites. Injuries were reported on both sides of the altercation.

Subsequently, Sacramento police arrested three anti-fascist protestors. The arrested party have been arguing that this process by the state amounts to the the state being complicit in the systemic white supremacy plaguing America.  

Defense attorneys following the Wednesday hearing alternately called Sacramento County’s prosecution of the trio “silly,” “ridiculous,” and politically motivated, and said they will ask county prosecutors to turn over more evidence in the case.

“There are a lot of critical omissions that we’re going to be requesting,” including police reports and chain-of-evidence information, said Felarca attorney Ronald Cruz, adding that he will soon draw up a motion to dismiss charges.

The charges against Felarca, who has been associated with the antifa movement, are “entirely political in character,” Cruz said. “They’re only prosecuting her on her political views.” He also cited video footage from the scene that he contends “clearly shows Nazis stabbing people.”

California cops collaborated with knife-wielding neo-Nazi to go after stabbed antifa protesters

California Highway Patrol officers collaborated with armed neo-Nazis to investigate a violent 2016 clash outside the state capitol in Sacramento between members of the white supremacist Traditionalist Workers Party and the leftist group Anti-Fascism Action, the Guardian reported Friday.

Several of the antifa counterprotesters in the brawl were stabbed repeatedly by neo-Nazis. But CHP records given to the British paper by attorneys in the resulting criminal case show officers treated the white supremacists as sources and victims, with an investigator named Donovan Ayres going so far as to tell one TWP organizer he wished he could help him identify his enemies.

“I’m gonna suggest that we hold that or redact your name or something until this gets resolved,” Ayres told TWP member Doug McCormack, referring to a public records request for the organization’s rally permit that contained McCormack’s name. The Guardian says Ayres also told McCormack he didn’t know who was behind the request, but “If I did, I would tell you.”

In arrest reports, the same cop argued that a black anti-fascist counterprotester who had been stabbed three times in the altercation should be charged with 11 crimes. “As evidence, Ayres provided Facebook photos of the man holding up his fist” and said that “‘Black Power salute’ and his ‘support for anti-racist activism’ demonstrated his ‘intent and motivation to violate the civil rights’ of the neo-Nazi group,” the Guardian notes. Prosecutors did not take up Ayres’ charging recommendations against that man and set aside the vast majority of Highway Patrol recommendations, but are still bringing felony cases against three counterdemonstrators from the melee.

The brawl took place roughly 18 months ago when a few dozen TWP members marched “to make a statement about the precarious situation our race is in.” The planning post cited harassment of Trump supporters at events in California during the election as cause to hit back at “orchestrated pogroms by Zionist agitated colored people.” The neo-Nazi marchers were greeted by hundreds of anti-fascist counterdemonstrators.

Each group blamed the other for initiating the violence between the groups, while much subsequent coverage highlighted police agencies’ failure to field adequate manpower or to keep groups separate — choices that in hindsight serve as grim foreshadowing to the passive law enforcement approach ThinkProgress reporters witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer.

Three people from the anti-fascist group currently face charges stemming from the brawl. One, a teacher named Yvette Felarca, told the Guardian she was stabbed that day by McCormack’s crew. Prosecutors noted they have also charged one person from the TWP bloc, and the chief deputy district attorney on the case “vehemently denied” that his office has been biased in its work on the case. CHP wanted at least 106 people charged, suggesting a significant disagreement between cops and prosecutors on how to proceed.

The documents reported Friday help illustrate where that disconnect between armed law enforcement and their suit-and-tie colleagues might arise. Ayres and other cops relied heavily on McCormack and fellow TWP neo-Nazi Derik Punneo for help identifying anti-fascist demonstrators. An audio recording of officers’ jailhouse conversation with Punneo captures one telling him “We’re pretty much going after them” and “We’re looking at you as a victim,” the paper notes.

Fourteen were wounded in the end, including five people taken to hospitals for stab wounds. Several of the neo-Nazis, including the ones CHP officers directly collaborated with to identify antifa members, had knives on them when they were arrested. Neither McCormack nor Punneo were charged.