Heavy-Duty Legal Wrangling Featured in 2016 State Capitol Neo Nazi Riot Prelim

Defense attorney Shanta Driver (far right) speaks to supporters outside the courthouse. From left, defense attorney Ron Cruz, and defendants Porfirio Paz, Mike Williams, and Yvette Felarca.

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – The long, long anticipated preliminary trial of three anti-fascists for their alleged part in a June 2016 melee at the State Capitol involving neo Nazi groups began in Sacramento County Superior Court here Thursday – but didn’t get close to finishing after more than two hours of heavy-duty legal wrangling.

Although scheduled to start and finish Thursday, the preliminary trial will be continued until Dec. 18.

Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie found herself Thursday more like a kindergarten cop, forced to rule on scores of objections – virtually all of them granted – from the defense team of Ron Cruz, Shanta Driver, Linda Parisi and Marc Reichel, representing defendants Yvette Felarca, Michael Williams and Porfirio Paz. All defendants are charged with a myriad of felonies.

Deputy District Attorney Paris Coleman was on defense – although he is the prosecutor – much of the afternoon, and on the receiving end of the seemingly never-ending objections to his attempts to enter photographs and video into evidence, and elicit testimony from California Highway Patrol officer Donovan Ayers.

Ayers was on the roof of the State Capitol building the day of the riot because, as he testified, the potential for violence between counter protestors and neo Nazi groups – officially, the “Traditional Worker Party” secured a permit, but many social justice groups were expected to counter protest.

“There were a dozen or so groups, Occupy types….(with) Communist or Socialist banners,” testified Ayers, quickly labeling the left-leaning groups, although he failed to label neo Nazi and white power groups as such throughout his testimony (one of the victims even gave the Nazi salute repeatedly in video shown to the court).

But his testimony, as well as the photos and video that DDA Coleman tried to enter as evidence, set off rounds of objections by defense lawyers – the judge upheld most of the objections, which characterized his comments as “opinion…hearsay…without foundation” because Ayers admitted he really couldn’t see much of the protest from his high Capitol perch.

The DDA attempted to enter a photograph with a caption reading “Felarca hitting” a neo Nazi – defense lawyer Parisi objected, noting that is not what was depicted in the photo. The judge agreed.

Reichel objected that one video shown “could have been edited because,” suggested Reichel, the video came from “YouTube, the Internet, social media.”

Defense also objected to another video showing protestors clashing on the  Southside steps of the Capitol. After again admitting he could not see the protests from his vantage point, Ayers eventually identified the shooter of the video as a Capitol employee on break who shot the video with her cellphone. The judge overruled defense objections and allowed the video to be shown.

Driver, even before the proceedings began, told a rally outside the courtroom that the three defendants were the victims of a “conspiracy” between the Sacramento County District Attorney and CHP against “well known civil rights activists (trying) to stop the “Donald Trump dictatorial movement from steamrolling civil rights” in the U.S.

“The CHP did nothing (at the Capitol in 2016) to stop fascists armed and looking for a fight. Not one was arrested after at least eight  stabbings…the CHP instead focused on anti-fascists counter-demonstrators,” said Driver.

And according to attorney Cruz, “Although the CHP identified every individual who had knives that day – all of whom were fascists – the CHP concluded no single one of them was ‘solely responsible’ for stabbing any one anti-racist protesters. Through this sleight of hand, the CHP and District Attorney are protecting the fascists.”

Driver noted that the CHP had recommended charging about 100 identified counter protestors with 576 crimes, even though she claimed “fascists” were armed and were responsible for the stabbings. Only one fascist participant has been arrested and faces trial in January.

“Nigel Walker (a self-admitted fascist) looked to create a riot and had to know that the police would do nothing to him. Even if he was caught doing something wrong, he knew he wouldn’t face charges,” she alleged.

“A comprehensive review of  (CHP reports) reveals that the CHP recommended 576 criminal charges against 100 anti-fascist protesters, and recommended only 5 criminal charges against 5 fascists,” a 177-page motion to dismiss states, adding:  “None of these charges prosecute the fascists for stabbing people on June 26, 2016…  In contrast, the CHP has 100 Narratives regarding anti-racist protesters and makes requests that the District Attorney prosecute all 100 of them, recommending 576 criminal charges against them

“The motion presents irrefutable quantitative and comparative evidence of the California Highway Patrol and District Attorney sheltering the fascists and targeting anti-racist protesters for criminal prosecution,” said attorney Cruz.

“The arrests of Yvette Felarca, Porfirio Paz, and Michael Williams emboldened the fascists and fell weeks before Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer, and there has been a surge of white racist violence. Protesting against Donald Trump and the violent fascists who have been emboldened by him to murder innocent people is not a crime; it is a necessity. The Sacramento District Attorney’s political witch-hunt must end now,” he said.

“The CHP considered it a crime simply for being at a protest against fascists,” Cruz said. “One CHP report recommends charging a protester of ‘Riot’ for holding a banner saying, ‘Anti Fascism’ and coordinating hospital support for the people who were nearly killed by fascists.”

The preliminary hearing continues Dec. 18, 9 a.m. in Dept. 18.


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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38 thoughts on “Heavy-Duty Legal Wrangling Featured in 2016 State Capitol Neo Nazi Riot Prelim”

  1. Keith O

    Heavy-Duty Legal Wrangling Featured in 2016 State Capitol Neo Nazi Riot Prelim

    Should read:
    Heavy-Duty Legal Wrangling Featured in 2016 State Capitol Anti Fascist Groups Riot Prelim
    FIFY

    1. Craig Ross

      While Keith plays word games, he apparently didn’t follow the story emerging from the hearings.

      “The CHP did nothing (at the Capitol in 2016) to stop fascists armed and looking for a fight. Not one was arrested after at least eight  stabbings…the CHP instead focused on anti-fascists counter-demonstrators,” said Driver.
      And according to attorney Cruz, “Although the CHP identified every individual who had knives that day – all of whom were fascists – the CHP concluded no single one of them was ‘solely responsible’ for stabbing any one anti-racist protesters. Through this sleight of hand, the CHP and District Attorney are protecting the fascists.”

      We’ll see what happens, but based on what I heard, the police and DA are going after the wrong side.

      1. Keith O

        We’ll see what happens, but based on what I heard, the police and DA are going after the wrong side.

        Not surprising you’d see it that way.  Both sides had plenty of culpability and both sides were responsible for inciting violence.  Who issued the first blows though?  The so-called anti-fascists are just as fascist as the neo-Nazi’s.

        1. Craig Ross

          My issue isn’t who is responsible, but rather what appears to be a very selective prosecution.  If both sides are culpable, and they may well be, I would expect a more equitable prosecution.

        2. Craig Ross

          This isn’t speeding where an officer can only pull over one person.  This was a melee in which many people were involved and yet somehow only one side gets arrested and prosecuted.  I think I’m asking a reasonable question here.

        3. Howard P

          I’ll point out something… per Keith’s 11:33 post.

          The video was obviously ‘staged’… there is no need to ‘defend’ faux news, as was picked up on Fox (aka faux) News.

          Who staged it, not sure… could have been either side of the idiots.

          The coward who recorded it is “anonymous”… gets to the VG concerns about anonymous postings… lies, half-truths, selective ‘facts’ are facilitated (enabled?) by anonymity.

        4. Keith O

          Did they stage her punching the guy Howard?  Did they stage the cops standing there in the background watching? Did they stage the guy getting kicked while he was down? Get a clue Howard.

  2. Jim Hoch

    “This was a melee in which many people were involved and yet somehow only one side gets arrested” 

    One side had a permit to march. Therefore the conflict was driven by the other side which showed up to prevent them from exercising their rights.

        1. Craig Ross

          Both sides did things that broke the law.  One side is being prosecuted.  What don’t you get here?  I have not once defended law breaking on either side.  You’ve made repeated excuses defending one-sided prosecution.

    1. Howard P

      Jim, is there a chance that trying to heckle/stop someone’s 1st amendment rights is an expression of their first amendment rights?  Have no answer, but interesting question, no?

      IMHO, all involved needed a “time out”… not prosecution.

      This seems like a waste of effort and money.

      Do find it interesting that you and Keith appear to side with the neo-nazis… or, at least, not siding with those who oppose neo-nazism…

      1. Keith O

        I’ll never side with Antifa, who are fascists in their own right.  I don’t side with the neo-Nazi’s either.  Howard, it’s interesting that you appear to side with the Antifa side.

      2. John Hobbs

        Yeah, I remember when hating Nazis was a good thing, but understand that everyone gets a participation medal in Davis. No question that the CHP facilitated much of the violence by allowing the Nazis to attack counter protesters.

      3. Keith O

        “No question that the CHP facilitated much of the violence by allowing the Nazis to attack counter protesters.”

        I guess John missed the parts where the CHP also allowed Antifa to attack the Neo-Nazi’s too.

      4. Jim Hoch

        Howard, the leftwing fascists publicly announced their intent to attack the rightwing fascists so of course the rightwing fascists came well armed.

        Law enforcement would likely prefer groups did not do this and so the leftwing fascists are getting the boot heel.

        I don’t understand why anyone is confused about this.

        1. Don Shor

          I don’t understand why anyone is confused about this.

          Perhaps because you’re using a definition of ‘fascist’ that isn’t commonly accepted.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

          Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism,[1][2][3][4] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy,[5] which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.[6] The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries.[6] Opposed to liberalism, Marxism and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

  3. Ron

    This reporter (the author of this article) is not serving the Vanguard well.  (And, that judgement actually has nothing to do with Nazis or Antifa.) It is not the first time, as I recall.

    It is not real reporting. I hesitate to call it “fake news”, but that might be the most accurate description.

    Actually, what does the Vanguard honestly report?

      1. Ron

        It’s more than “left”.  It’s not even an attempt at reporting. It’s like the “FOX news, of the left”.

        It’s not normally something I even care about, as it makes no difference. 🙂

        I don’t think that the Vanguard’s readers include any Nazis or Antifa’s. I’m pretty sure that David is not showing up at these protests, either.

        It’s ultimately kind of boring.

  4. Ron

    Ya know – here’s an idea.  Why not report on the great work that Tuleyome does, or some of the other similar groups?  Some of the information is already written/documented. (Lots of great photo opportunities, as well.)

    And, by the way – lots of UCD students show up at UCD’s Stebbins Cold Canyon (to hike).

    Maybe I should start my own blog.

    Moderator, I know that you’ll delete this. But seriously, is this topic interesting to anyone? Especially compared to some of the other positive things going on in the region?

  5. Jeff M

    Mainstream liberals/Democrats support Antifa, and mainstream Republican/Conservatives do not support White Supremacists.  This fact is reinforced from the comments on this site.

    1. Keith O

      Exactly Jeff, from the article and the comments on here it’s hard to believe how anyone can support these fascist anti-fascist thugs.  I hope they all get convicted and pay a price.

  6. John Hobbs

    ” Republican/Conservatives do not support White Supremacists.”

    Off the top of my head:

    Steve King

    Paul Nehlen

    Steve Scalise

    Ron Desantis

    Sean Donohue

    Don Blankenship

    Rod Blum

    Patrick Little

    John Fitzgerald

    Russell Walker

    Steve West

     

  7. John Hobbs

    ” I hope they all get convicted and pay a price.”

    If you mean Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Roger Stone, et al. I’m with you.

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