William Scott Planer, a suspected neo-Nazi accused of being involved in the violent clash at state Capitol last year that left at least 14 injured, faced a Sacramento judge Tuesday on assault charges in the case.
Visiting Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gregory Haas read the allegations of felony assault with a deadly weapon and inciting a riot connected to the June 26, 2016, melee involving members of the Traditionalist Worker Party, the Golden State Skinheads and anti-fascist counter protestors. Five people were stabbed during the brawl, which grew out of a rally promoted by the two extreme-right groups.
Planer, speaking from behind bars in the courtroom’s jail cell, said he plans to hire private counsel, but agreed to have a court-appointed attorney in the interim. Planer will return to court Sept. 28.
Tuesday’s hearing was a quick, quiet affair in contrast to the drumming-and-chanting demonstrations, packed courtrooms and heavy security that has marked court appearances by the three counter protestors arrested for their alleged roles in the rioting.
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Berkeley school teacher Yvonne Felarca, Michael Williams and Porfirio Paz also face assault charges in connection with the melee and will return Oct. 4 to Sacramento Superior Court. Felarca, Williams and Paz remain free on bail.
Prosecutors allege Planer, 34, attacked an anti-fascist protestor with a pole or stick. The charges were made after the California Highway Patrol and Sacramento County District Attorney’s investigators spent months reviewing surveillance video.
Planer, arrested in Colorado in July, awaited extradition to California. Prosecutors also alleged a prior strike offense – a robbery in October 2001.
Originally from Sacramento, Planer is reported to be a well-known white supremacist in the Denver area and faces charges connected to the defacing of a synagogue in Colorado Springs in July, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
He is being held in Sacramento County Main Jail in lieu of $600,000 bail, according to Sacramento County Sheriff’s records.