The leader of an alt-right group attending California State University, Stanislaus, was caught on video Saturday punching a woman in the face at a protest in Berkeley.
Nathan Damigo was seen in a YouTube video posted by WeAreChange.org on Saturday striking a woman, who immediately fell to the ground. The shot of Damigo, in a blue buttoned-down shirt with rolled up sleeves, was 31 seconds into a more than four-minute video taken from the streets of downtown Berkeley.
Seconds after the punch, Damigo and the unidentified woman, go out of the frame. About 20 seconds later, she is seen in the video standing against a pillar wincing as she puts her hand to her face. It was not immediately known if there was any interaction between the two before she was struck.
The rally in Berkeley drew hundreds of pro-Donald Trump demonstrators and hundreds of counter-protesters to the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. Several fights reportedly broke out before and during the noon rally, and 20 people reportedly had been arrested by the end of the day.
Clips of the punch also caught fire on social media. The Bee sent a direct message on Twitter to Damigo, but have not yet heard a response about Saturday’s incident.
The Bee featured Damigo in a story last fall after Stanislaus State students complained when fliers about Damigo appeared on campus using information posted on It’s Going Down, a website dedicated generally to civic rebellion, or as it puts it, “We support liberatory revolt.”
Damigo also created the Identity Evropa, which gives an Oakdale post office box as its headquarters but does not name its leaders. The site uses Greek and Renaissance male statues as its imagery and includes links to materials touting the superiority of whites and genetic inferiority of other races.
Damigo was a junior last fall majoring in social science.
When the controversy over the fliers erupted at the Turlock campus last October, the fliers were taken down and no supremacist activities or hate crimes had been reported at the Turlock campus, school officials said at the time.
Damigo, in an interview with The Bee’s Nan Austin, said he had not been posting his posters on campus, but said he had been going to other campuses to spread the word and “to make a space safe to talk about things that make people uncomfortable. We want to talk about race, too.”
He told The Bee that he was a former Marine released with an other than honorable discharge, served two tours in Iraq and said he suffered a flashback after returning stateside. “I flipped out on this guy. Certainly not my finest hour,” he said. He spent around two years incarcerated for assault and emerged with a new perspective.
“I took the time to reflect, educate myself,” Damigo said in October. “What I want to do is something working on the culture, changing the way people see the world.”
After students in Turlock and others took to social media to complain about Damigo and the fliers, a letter from President Ellen Junn, posted on the university website saying all students are entitled to their opinions.
“It must be recognized that the University represents a microcosm of our society at large. As such, we cannot withdraw or suppress the viewpoints of others that do not violate the law or campus policy, nor is it in the best interest of the learning experience to do so,” Junn wrote.
“Though it may be difficult to hear disparate viewpoints, it is ever more vital to remember that Stanislaus State and the CSU have an obligation and commitment to the founding principles of our American democracy – a democracy that upholds the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech, even when that speech may be controversial or offensive to others,” she said.
One website on Saturday asked readers to call the university and demand that Damigo be expelled.