California Police Worked With Neo-Nazis To Find 'Anti-Racist' Activists
Court documents have revealed that California police investigating a violent white nationalist event were working with neo-Nazis to find counter-protesters who held “anti-racist” beliefs.
The documents, which were included in a court case for three anti-fascists who were charged with felonies after an altercation with white supremacist groups in 2016, show that California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigators were sympathizing with white supremacists, as well as trying to identify key leaders of anti-fascist groups.
According to the Guardian, the white supremacist group that the investigators were working with was the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), the neo-Nazi group that organized the 2016 rally that took place at the state Capitol in Sacramento.
“It is shocking and really angering to see the level of collusion and the amount to which the police covered up for the Nazis,” Yvette Felarca, a Berkeley teacher and anti-fascist organizer who was a part of the rally, said. “The people who were victimized by the Nazis were then victimized by the police and the district attorneys.”
Felarca’s attorneys obtained plenty of evidence showing CHP officers working with TWP. One example was a phone call between Doug McCormack, a TWP affiliate who acquired the permit for the Sacramento rally, and CHP investigator Donovan Ayres, with Ayres warning McCormack that he might have to release his name after receiving a public records request.
“I’m gonna suggest that we hold that or redact your name or something until this gets resolved,” Ayres said to McCormack. Ayres also told McCormack that he didn’t know who made the request, adding that if he did “I would tell you.”
In Ayres’ report on the rally and the violence that followed, he also seemed to treat anti-fascist participants as suspects. As the Guardian notes:
“The officer’s write-up about an African American anti-fascist activist included a photo of him at the hospital after the rally and noted that he had been stabbed in the abdomen, chest and hand.”
“Ayres, however, treated the protester like a suspect in the investigation. The police investigator recommended the man be charged with 11 offenses, including disturbing the peace, conspiracy, assault, unlawful assembly and wearing a mask to evade police.”
“As evidence, Ayres provided Facebook photos of the man holding up his fist. The officer wrote that the man’s ‘Black Power salute’ and his ‘support for anti-racist activism’ demonstrated his ‘intent and motivation to violate the civil rights’ of the neo-Nazi group. He was ultimately not charged.”
Along with McCormack, officers also worked with another TWP member, Derik Punneo. Punneo, who was also present at the rally, was interviewed by officers in jail for an unrelated domestic violence charge. Audio recordings between officers and Punneo captured them bringing photos of anti-fascist activists in hopes that Punneo could identify them.
“We’re pretty much going after them,” the officers said, while assuring Punneo “We’re looking at you as a victim.”
Punneo and McCormack, along with several other TWP members present at the rally, were armed with knives. However, none of them have faced charges.
Prosecutors called the documents against TWP and CHP “inaccurate or fabricated” and accused Felarca’s lawyers of using the filing to “make a political statement.”
Source: The Guardian