A Klan rally in California on Saturday quickly became the site of violent stabbings when a group of up to 20 protesters arrived with the “intent of perpetrating violence” on six Klansmen. In the end, three people were hurt and 13 others arrested.
Anaheim’s KKK faction insisted that their gathering was meant to be a peaceful demonstration against “illegal immigration and Muslims” and described the actions of Klan members as self-defense. So far, the police and the director of an anti-hate group corroborate that version of the violence.
By Monday, five KKK members had been released from jail, because the evidence showed they acted in self-defense, the Chicago Tribune reported. Seven protesters are still in jail for allegedly beating, stomping, and attacking Klansmen with wooden posts.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Klan had announced Saturday’s rally in Pearson Park forduled for 1:30 p.m. At 11 a.m., several dozen protesters had arrived for a confrontation. An hour after that, an SUV sporting “White Lives Matter” signs arrived, the people inside outfitted in black with Confederate flag patches, the Washington Post added.
Witnesses said protesters threw sticks and other items at the Klan car. As soon as the Klan members exited, a fight erupted. People swarmed the vehicle, and a window was smashed. The car then left the rally, and three of the Klansmen were left behind to fight against 20 protesters.
The fight stretched a city block: one man wearing a shirt that read “Grand Dragon” was seen being kicked, a protester collapsed to the ground bleeding and crying out that he’d been stabbed. He lifted his shirt to reveal the spurting wound; a fire hydrant nearby was coated in blood.
The stabbings were perpetrated against the protesters — one Klan member used a knife, another an unidentified weapon, and the third the pointed end of a flag pole. Martin Buenorostro described the fracas and stabbings. His friend, whom he’d only identify as “FuzzBuzz,” was stabbed by the flag pole.
“They started pulling out weapons. One of them had the flag, the American flag, with the pointed top and I think that’s what got my friend. It’s a serious wound. It wasn’t like the blood was dripping out. It gushed out of him.”
Brian Levin was at the rally Saturday to interview Klansmen. He directs Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism and was interviewing Klansmen at the protest. He also recorded the rally stabbings and posted the fracas online. He also provided an interesting account of the violent incident.
Before the stabbings began, he was interviewing KKK ringleader William Quigg. Then, protesters swarmed the rally and the Klan members, so Levin pushed Quigg out of harm’s way as the violence escalated.
“How do you feel that a Jewish person helped save your life today?” Levin asked, referring to himself.
“I thank you. I thank you,” Quigg reportedly said. “I would have saved a colored man’s life.”
Levin criticized the police response.
“It was the longest few minutes between when the SUV was attacked and when the police responded in droves. I think the police response saved their lives. (The counter-protesters) were so angry, they would have torn these folks limb from limb… I was afraid for their lives.”
A crowd 100 people cheered as Klan members were taken away from the rally in handcuffs a few minutes after the stabbings. In total, 13 people were arrested at the rally — six Klan members and seven protesters.
The six Klansmen were initially arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon. The other seven were arrested on suspicion of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. The case will be reviewed to determine whether criminal charges will be filed against the KKK.
Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada defended the police response to the rally stabbings and noted that people are allowed to express their opinions in public.
“Even if the vast majority of our community disagrees with a particular group who visits our city we cannot stop them from lawfully gathering to express their opinions. Violence is not acceptable, and we will arrest anybody who assaults another person or commits any other crime in our city.”
[Image via Brian Levin/Facebook]