Al Letson rescued a man being beaten by Antifa in Berkeley

One of the videos I posted Sunday showed a group of masked Antifa anarchists beating a man who was lying in the street unable to defend himself. At the end of this clip, you see another man in a red shirt step in and cover the victim with his body:

From the moment I saw this, I thought the guy who got between the mob and their target was pretty brave. His name is Al Letson and he’s an investigative journalist who was there to cover the rally. Yesterday he gave an interview to NPR and here’s some of what he had to say:

At some point when I turned to my left I saw this gentleman and either he tripped or somebody tripped him and he landed on the ground. When he landed on the ground about five of the people that had been chasing him surrounded him and started kicking him and I saw somebody take a flagpole and really bring it down really hard on him.

And when I glanced to my left I saw, you know, a mass of people just coming off the lawn towards this guy, and I don’t know — I just, I thought they were going to kill him. And I just didn’t want anybody to die. And I just put my body down on top of his, in the hopes that they would not hit me.

Asked if he had any hesitation protecting someone who, for all he knew at the time, could be part of an alt-right group, Letson said he didn’t think about that:

What came to me was that he was a human being, and I didn’t want to see anybody die. And, you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the events in Charlottesville, and I remember seeing the pictures of a young man being brutally beaten by these guys with poles, and when I saw that I thought, “why didn’t anybody step in?”

And you know, in retrospect, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t see my humanity, what matters to me is that I see his. What he thinks about me and all of that, like — my humanity is not dependent upon that.

In fact, the person who was being beaten expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Letson on Twitter:

Letson, who was being criticized on Twitter this morning for interceding, offered this response:

The story on this incident at Letson’s own news outlet makes clear he didn’t know who the person was at the time and after the incident, they were quickly separated. So the claim that the victim is a “white supremacist” or “alt-right” hasn’t been confirmed and may not be true.

From what I can see Letson leans left and the person he saved is on the right. But for a moment Sunday that didn’t matter. Letson showed the same kind of spirit we’re seeing in Houston where ordinary people are rescuing their neighbors and, in many cases, complete strangers without regard to any of the usual diving lines. Letson showed he was a decent human being first and everything he is comes after that. We could use a bit more of that.

David Strom 7:01 PM on September 24, 2022