A group of five Antifa “counter-protesters” will face trial today over their alleged involvement in an attack at a Trump rally last year. The group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) has dubbed them the “Berkley Five” and is encouraging supporters to pack the courtroom to support them. From the Daily Californian:
Dubbed the “Berkeley 5” by local activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, Taylor Fuller, Scott Hedrick, Nathan Perry, Jeff Armstrong and Dustin Sawtelle are being brought to trial on charges of attacking Trump supporter Daniel Quillinan on March 4, 2017…
“They came to the protest … united in their opposition to Trump and the physical danger that his most loyal and violent neo-fascist supporters present to the Bay Area and particular to its black, Latina/o, Asian, Arab, and immigrant communities,” said Ronald Cruz, a lawyer for the defendants, in an email.
According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the five men were arrested for beating Quillinan while paramedics were attempting to stitch up an injury:
In another case from March 4, witness testimony from police and firefighters convinced prosecutors to charge five people — Nathan Perry, Jeffrey Armstrong, Dustin Santelle, Scott Hedrick and Taylor Fuller — with misdemeanor counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.
As paramedics stitched up Daniel Quillinan, a right-wing demonstrator who had suffered a cut, the five defendants allegedly attacked him with kicks and punches.
BAMN put out a press release encouraging people to pack the courtroom Wednesday. In their version of events, police are part of a pro-Trump conspiracy:
In the era of Donald Trump, fascists are feeling emboldened and are attempting to grow. Courageous anti-Trump and anti-fascist protesters Taylor Fuller, Scott Hedrick, Nathan Perry, Jeff Armstrong, and Dustin Sawtelle (pictured above) are local heroes who stood up to neo-fascist attacks. But now they are being falsely charged by neo-fascists and local law enforcement to advance Trump’s agenda in the direction of a police state. The old traditional slogan, “cops and Klan go hand in hand” applies all too well in this case.
Fill the courtroom for the trial of the Berkeley 5 to make sure the people of Oakland and the Bay Area are represented…
On March 4, Quillinan violently attacked protesters and sustained injuries as a result. Now Quillinan, the Berkeley police, and the Alameda County Prosecutor are working together to target the Berkeley 5 with false charges for standing against Trump and his neo-fascist supporters.
This sounds similar to the claims made by attorneys for BAMN leader Yvette Felarca. She asked a judge to dismiss charges against her (based on a separate incident) claiming she was the victim of a “political witch hunt.” A judge disagreed there was any grand conspiracy involved and said the case against her could proceed.
Another Antifa member is also expected in court some time this month. Eric Clanton is the person caught on video smashing a man in the head with a metal bike lock at another Antifa rally. He has been charged with four felony counts and could face up to a decade in prison if convicted.