In a nationwide first, members of Antifa have been arrested and charged with conspiracy crimes.
“San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan today announced multiple felony charges against six of the eight people arrested in connection with violent criminal acts committed earlier this year during a demonstration in Pacific Beach on January 9, 2021,” a press release from Stephan’s office says. “Charges against the defendants include conspiracy to commit a riot, illegal use of tear gas, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and vandalism. If convicted, the defendants face a sentencing range of probation up to 10 years and eight months in prison.”
The defendants are Luis F. Mora, 30; Joseph Gaskins, 21; Martin Talab, 27; Jeremy White, 39; Bryan Rivera, 21; Brian Lightfoot, 25; and Jesse Cannon, 31.
The Antifa members allegedly began planning their activities on January 2, a week before the San Diego “Patriot March,” which was held to protest the 2020 election results.
According to Stephan:
The Defendants are self-identified to be affiliated with Anti-fascists or Antifa and in this case organized into two groups, one originating from Los Angeles and the other from San Diego. The defendants began organizing on January 2, 2021 for what they referred to as ‘Direct Action’ against a demonstration to take place on January 9, 2021 in Pacific Beach. Evidence gathered in the investigation shows that Antifa members [sic] reference to ‘Direct Action’ means acts of violence such as assault, battery, assault with deadly weapons, arson, and vandalism.
The defendants are accused of attacking the Patriot March protestors with weapons and mace. They are also accused of macing and beating minors, whom they believed were involved in the march. One of those minors was taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion.
“Video evidence analysis shows that overwhelmingly the violence in this incident was perpetrated by the Antifa affiliates and was not a mutual fray with both sides crossing out of lawful First Amendment expression into riot and violence,” Stephan’s release says.
Eventually, an unlawful assembly was declared and the San Diego Police were tasked with dispersing the crowd.
The press release alleges that Antifa attacked police with bottles, rocks, eggs and mace.
The conspiracy charges are significant.
For years, Antifa has essentially been given a free pass to commit violence in the streets.
The political left, including President Joe Biden, have often said that Antifa is not an organized group, but rather “just an idea.”
By couching the group as an unconnected or loosely-knit batch of anti-fascists, it has been excused for its violent nature.
In 2018, CNN host Don Lemon defended Antifa in a manner typical of the American political left.
“It says it right in the name: Antifa, anti-fascism, which was what they were there fighting,” he said.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s office did not reply to a comment request.
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