3 stabbed at KKK anti-im­mi­grant rally

Business Mirror - - THE WORLD -

LOS AN­GE­LES—Three peo­ple were stabbed on Satur­day, one crit­i­cally, af­ter a small group of Ku Klux Klan ( KKK) mem­bers stag­ing an anti- im­mi­grant rally in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia clashed with a larger gath­er­ing of coun­ter­protesters, the po­lice said.

The vi­o­lence erupted shortly af­ter noon in Ana­heim’s Pear­son Park, about 3 miles from Dis­ney­land. The KKK had ad­ver­tised plans for the rally, and about 30 anti- Klan pro­test­ers showed up be­fore­hand, Ana­heim Po­lice Sgt. Daron Wyatt said. When six Klan mem­bers ar­rived, they were at­tacked as they ex­ited their cars, he said.

One Klans­man stabbed a coun­ter­protester with the dec­o­ra­tive end of a flag pole, Wyatt said. That stab­bing set off a vi­cious brawl in which Klan mem­bers and pro­test­ers fought across an en­tire city block.

Wit­ness video shows Klans­men dressed in black shirts dec­o­rated with the Klan cross and Con­fed­er­ate flag patches be­ing sur­rounded by counter- pro­test­ers as they ar­rive at the park in an SUV. A KKK mem­ber ap­pears to hold out a flag pole to fend off the crowd.

“I got stabbed,” a man is then heard scream­ing, lift­ing his T-shirt to show a wound to his stom­ach. A fire hy­drant where the man briefly sat was cov­ered in blood.

One Ana­heim po­lice sergeant saw an­other Klan mem­ber with a knife in his hand and a coun­ter­protester bleed­ing nearby, Wyatt said. The sergeant took the KKK mem­ber into cus­tody. Mean­while, counter- pro­test­ers stomped on two KKK mem­bers, he said.

“All hell broke loose,”said Brian Levin, di­rec­tor of Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity, San Bernardino’s Cen­ter for the Study of Hate and Ex­trem­ism, who wit­nessed the vi­o­lence. “I thought they were go­ing to stomp th­ese Klans­men to death.”

Wyatt said po­lice were present when the vi­o­lence erupted, but he did not say how many of­fi­cers were de­ployed.

Ana­heim po­lice had no­ti­fied the pub­lic about the planned KKK protest on Fri­day and said they would be “mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion for any vi­o­la­tions of law.” The depart­ment also said that while the group’s signs and fliers might be provoca­tive, they are pro­tected by the First Amend­ment.

Levin said he did not see any uni­formed of­fi­cers at the park when the vi­o­lence erupted. He said he tried to get be­tween coun­ter­protesters and Klans­men to help quell the melee un­til of­fi­cers were able to reach the scene.

“I’m still kind of a lit­tle bit shaken by it,” he said. Po­lice Chief Raul Quezada de­fended the way his depart­ment han­dled the sit­u­a­tion, say­ing a con­tin­gent of of­fi­cers were ded­i­cated to the gath­er­ings and they were able to ar­rest all of the main par­tic­i­pants in the clash.

“Pre­vent­ing vi­o­lent con­fronta­tions is al­ways our goal; un­for­tu­nately the hand­ful of in­di­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to crim­i­nal be­hav­ior this af­ter­noon caused the vi­o­lent episode,” he said in a state­ment.

Chris Barker, who iden­ti­fied him­self as the “im­pe­rial wizard” of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said his mem­bers were hold­ing a peace­ful anti- im­mi­gra­tion demon­stra­tion and acted in self- de­fense.

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