Even given the tendency of judges to later drop or downgrade the charges against people involved in left-wing protests, I’m pretty surprised by this one. Eric Clanton is the Antifa member who was caught on video last April swinging a metal bike lock and bashing a Trump supporter in the skull. Clanton was facing four felony counts of assault, but Berkeleyside reports those charges were dropped in favor of a single misdemeanor charge:
Wednesday, Clanton was supposed to have had his preliminary hearing, where a judge decides whether there’s enough evidence in a case for it to move ahead to trial. Instead, there was no hearing, and information about Clanton’s plea deal became available online.
According to Alameda County Superior Court records, Clanton entered a “no contest” plea Wednesday to one misdemeanor battery charge. The felony charges against him were dismissed, and an allegation that he had caused serious bodily injury was stricken. A misdemeanor charge that Clanton wore a mask during the commission of the crime also was dropped.
Police said, previously, that Clanton attacked at least three people with a metal U-lock during the April 15 rally in and around Civic Center Park. Court papers later revealed that Clanton struck at least seven people in the head, according to authorities. One person received a head laceration that required five staples to fix. Another was uninjured but had a piece of a helmet broken off. A third was struck across the neck and back, police wrote.
Here’s the most well-known video of Clanton at work. As you’ll see, he sneaks up from behind other people and swings the heavy metal lock directly into the victim’s head before retreating:
There’s another clip on YouTube showing another bike lock attack by the same guy. In this clip you can actually see his face right after the attack:
Berkeleyside reports when police searched his apartment they found a bike lock, Antifa literature, and clothing that matched what was seen in the video clips. Also, his phone records placed him near the site of the attacks last April. All of that to say, I’m not sure why prosecutors decided to offer this guy a sweetheart deal when they had a fairly solid case that he’d engaged in multiple assaults and at least a couple cases of battery. At a minimum, why not charge him with misdemeanor counts for each attack?
These street battles in Berkley, Portland, Sacramento, and elsewhere are going to keep happening so long as the masked goons continue to get a pass from authorities. Berkeley is inviting more violence by lowering the personal risk of engaging in it.
Update: One of the things I was wondering about yesterday when this story broke is why Clanton got off with such a light sentence. From the Associated Press:
Eric Clanton’s attorney Daniel Siegel said the 29-year-old agreed to the plea deal Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court. He was sentenced to three years of probation…
Siegel said medical records showed only one alleged victim sought medical treatment, for a bruise smaller than a dime.
This makes no sense to me. The victim of the attack shown above was Sean Stiles. He was bleeding all over the sidewalk. One report which I read (but can’t currently find) said he got several staples to close the wound. Was that report false? In any case, why is Clanton’s attorney saying the worst injury was a tiny bruise? Doesn’t bleeding from the head represent as an injury worse than a bruise?