A dozen protesters stormed the lobby of the Anaheim Police Department this afternoon, angered by the way its officers handled (or rather, didn’t) yesterday’s Ku Klux Klan melee at Pearson Park. They accused cops of protecting the Klan and not anti-haters. Activists also demanded counter-protestors arrested and jailed for a number of serious charges be immediately released.
Earlier this morning, Anaheim police issued a press statement noting that of the original 12 arrests made, seven were booked and jailed. Nicole Rae Schop, Hugo Contreras and Mark Anthony Liddell stand accused of elder abuse for allegedly stomping an old Klukker (and Donald Trump supporter!) at the melee. Guy Harris, Randy Omarcc Felder and Marquis DeShawn Turner are being held on suspicion of committing assault with a deadly weapon.
The Klukkers fared much better, with four out of five arrested going home for the night. Only Charles Edward Donner, a 51-year-old Klansman from San Francisco, is being held for assault with a deadly weapon. He’s suspected of stabbing three counter-demonstrators with a knife at the melee. Based on the evidence, police say Bill Quigg, the Grand Dragon lunging at people using the U.S. flag like a spear, didn’t cause any injuries and simply warded off the crowd.
Protesters demanded to speak with the police after taking the lobby and chanting slogans that echoed off the walls. Captain Steve Marcin eventually came out to greet them. “We want to demand that the [counter-protesters] be released, that all of the charges be dropped and that your police department be held accountable for those stabbings because you dropped the ball,” an Anaheim resident who went to the park told Marcin. Another activist said they had pictures showing Donner walking freely with a knife in hand while the Anaheim police roughed up Green Party activist Tom Allen, his alleged stab victim, nearby.
“Nobody’s happy about what happened yesterday,” Marcin told the protesters. “The community isn’t happy, the residents aren’t happy and the police department’s not happy.” He added that the pending investigation is ongoing and could only outline what was detailed on the department’s press release. Veteran activist Naui Huitzilopochtli pointed to the wanted black man pictured in the release for allegedly kicking Quigg in the head. “This guy’s a hero!” he explained to Marcin.
“You didn’t think a Klan rally would turn violent?” I asked the police captain. “The times that they’ve been there in the past, they’ve been out in a couple seconds,” he said. “The only time we have to come to the scene is if people’s behavior is such that is causes danger.” Longtime Anaheim watchers will recall a smaller melee in 2001 when American Patrol and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform held a “Defend the Homeland Rally” in front of city hall. With police on scene, fights broke out between anti-immigrant activists and protesters anyway earning the department a lawsuit claiming it didn’t do enough to keep the peace.
Dissatisfied with Marcin’s explanations, protesters shouted down the lobby again until police pulled down the office shutters and locked the activists out of the front sliding door. “There was so much bloodshed at the hands of the KKK and that’s their history,” the outspoken Anaheim resident said once outside. “There was a lot of families at the park and a lot of counter protesters brought their children. The police definitely put the rest of the community at risk.”
They headed next to Santa Ana City Jail to rally for the release of the counter-demonstrators.