At least 10 hurt at chaotic, bloody neo-Nazi rally at Capitol
William Planer, the lone Nazi sympathizer who was charged in the violent state Capitol clash between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators that injured 10 people in 2016, will face trial in September, a Sacramento County judge ordered.
Planer, who remains held in Sacramento County custody in lieu of $600,000 bail on suspicion of assault charges connected to the rioting, appeared briefly Thursday afternoon before Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet.
Sweet set the Sept. 11 trial date after Planer’s attorneys asked for time to gather and vet experts. A hearing to recognize witnesses was set for July 31.
Planer’s appearance Thursday came a day before a scheduled preliminary hearing in Sacramento Superior Court for three counter-protesters also facing assault charges tied to the riot: Berkeley teacher-activist Yvonne Felarca, Porfirio Paz and Michael Williams.
A judge on Friday granted a delay in the proceedings. The hearing is now slated for Oct. 12.
The trio, dubbed the “Sacramento 3” by supporters, were denied in May a bid to have charges against them dismissed, setting up the preliminary hearing. Felarca, Paz and Williams remain free on bail.
Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary that charges were filed against Paz and Planer, a former Sacramento resident with ties to hate groups in Colorado where he was arrested by authorities and brought back to California. Charges against Felarca and Williams came after a year-long investigation into the violence by the California Highway Patrol and investigators from the Sacramento County District Attorney.
Five people were stabbed in the June 26, 2016, melee that erupted at a joint rally of the Traditionalist Worker Party and Golden State Skinheads. Billed as a free speech rally, the event soon devolved into chaos on the Capitol’s grounds.
Attorneys for the three argued in May that local and state law enforcement did nothing to protect counter-protesters at the joint rally, leaving the anti-fascist demonstrators to defend themselves from attack.
They also accused CHP investigators and the District Attorney’s Office of singling out anti-fascists for arrest while covering up for the hate groups who staged the rally.
Prosecutors countered that Felarca and others did not file police reports or cooperate with law enforcement.