At least 10 hurt at chaotic, bloody neo-Nazi rally at Capitol
Prosecutors have arrested a total of four suspects in last year’s riot at the state Capitol, one a suspected neo-Nazi who is also accused of defacing a Colorado synagogue and three anti-fascist counter-demonstrators, including a Berkeley middle school teacher.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said the two arrests announced Tuesday and two others revealed Wednesday afternoon are expected to be the only ones for now in the June 2016 rally at the Capitol that spun out of control into a riot that left five people stabbed and nine others injured.
One of the suspects is a well-known white supremacist in the Denver area who was arrested last week on charges of defacing a synagogue in Colorado Springs, according to the Anti-Defamation League and police.
William Scott Planer, 34, was arrested July 14 for allegedly pasting a “Fight Terror, Nuke Israel” sticker on the door of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center in Colorado Springs, according to an Anti-Defamation League press release that says Planer originally is from Sacramento.
Colorado Springs police Lt. Howard Black said Planer was charged with a misdemeanor hate crime after the incident at the Jewish center.
“We had surveillance video that allowed our detectives to identify him,” Black said.
Online booking records for the El Paso (Colo.) County Jail show Planer is in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail and is being held as a fugitive from justice, a hold sparked by the filing of charges against him in Sacramento.
The Sacramento County District Attorney charged Planer on June 29 with participating in a riot and assault with a deadly weapon or by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury.
The charges stem from a June 26, 2016, rally at the Capitol in Sacramento organized by the Traditionalist Worker Party and the Golden State Skinheads. The rally was billed as a free speech event aimed at supporting attendees at rallies for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. It included about 30 neo-Nazi marchers.
Hundreds of opponents showed up to denounce the marchers, including so-called anti-facists or “antifa” protesters. A massive melee erupted that left at least 14 injured.
Planer is suspected of attacking an antifa protester with a pole or stick, based on a yearlong investigation by the California Highway Patrol and District Attorney’s Office that included reviews of photos and videos taken at the scene.
Three others believed to be from the antifa side also have been charged in the melee, including Berkeley school teacher Yvonne Felarca, who was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, prosecutors said. Felarca, who is also known as Yvette, is with the anti-fascist group By Any Means Necessary and gained notoriety after she was recorded on video punching a marcher and shouting “Get the f--- off our streets.”
She is being charged with inciting a riot, participating in a riot and assault with a deadly weapon or by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, the District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. No court date has been set for her first appearance.
Another suspected antifa supporter, Michael Williams, was arrested in Yolo County and will face a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a riot, prosecutors said. He faces arraignment Friday.
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A fourth suspect is Porfirio Gabriel Paz, 19, of Long Beach, who is believed to be an antifa supporter who allegedly attacked two neo-Nazi marchers.
Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel, who represents Paz, said his client has no criminal history and that he is out on bail and will appear in court next Monday.
By contrast, Planer has a criminal record that dates back to 2001 in Sacramento and includes a 2010 case that charged him with intimidating a witness. Online court records indicate he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge and was sentenced to 32 months in state prison.
Online records indicate Planer lived in Granite Bay from December 2000 through July 2004. Planer’s Facebook page indicates that he is from Sacramento and now lives in Denver. The cover photo of the account is of Adolf Hitler with his right arm thrust out in a Nazi salute.
The Anti-Defamation League said in a press release Monday that Planer has been tracked by its Center on Extremism “for a number of years” and that he is associated with both the Traditionalist Worker Party and the Golden State Skinheads.
TWP Chairman Matthew Heimbach told The Bee on Tuesday that Planer is a supporter of his group and “a normal, working, blue-collar American patriot.”
The Anti-Defamation League said Planer has remained active in white supremacist circles and appeared at a TWP rally in Pikeville, Ky., in April “wearing a shirt bearing the TWP emblem” and repeatedly giving a Nazi salute.
“Recently, Planer has participated in events organized by other right-wing groups,” the ADL statement said. “On June 3, 2017, Planer was in Boulder, Colorado, rallying with the Proud Boys, an alt right group that embraces misogyny and xenophobia and abhors ‘political correctness’ and the left.
“During the event, he wore a T-shirt adorned with a neo-Nazi Totenkopf symbol and the words, ‘Proud to be fascist, anti-Antifa.’ A week later, Planer, wearing a Traditionalist Worker Party tTshirt, attended an anti-Muslim ‘March Against Sharia’ event in Denver, Colorado, organized by the anti-Muslim group ACT for America.”
Authorities expect Planer to be extradited to face charges in Sacramento, although no court date has yet been scheduled for him. Colorado court filings indicate he faces an Aug. 28 court hearing in Colorado Springs.