Crime - Sacto 911

Anti-fascist protesters want assault charges thrown out in 2016 Capitol melee

‘What happened here at the Capitol was a complete scandal’

Protesters march Thursday outside the Hall of Justice to call to drop charges against anti-fascist activists arrested in the 2016 neo-Nazi Capitol melee.
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Protesters march Thursday outside the Hall of Justice to call to drop charges against anti-fascist activists arrested in the 2016 neo-Nazi Capitol melee.

Attorneys for the anti-fascist protesters charged with assaulting white nationalists during a 2016 clash at California’s Capitol will ask a judge to dismiss the case when they return to court in March.

Teacher-activist Yvonne Felarca, Porfirio Paz and Michael Williams, arrested after the year-long investigation that followed the June 16, 2016, melee, were to be arraigned for trial Wednesday, but will now return March 6 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Roman.

Attorneys for the three say the protesters acted only to defend themselves against attack from Traditional Worker Party and Golden State Skinheads members at the violent rally that left 10 injured and will ask Roman to throw out the charges at the March 6 arraignment.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie ordered the three to stand trial after their January preliminary hearing, saying enough evidence showed that the demonstrators attacked white supremacists at the rally.

Boulware reduced charges against the 21-year-old Paz, the youngest of the three, at the January hearing. Paz now faces a misdemeanor charge. Felarca and Williams, who was providing security for counter-protesters, will stand trial on felony assault charges. The three remain free on bail.

Boulware declared a mistrial last week for Colorado white supremacist William Planer after deadlocked jurors failed to reach a verdict on assault charges he faced in the 2016 rioting.

Planer remains in Sacramento County custody in lieu of $600,000 bail while county prosecutors decide whether to retry the case. Planer returns to Sacramento Superior Court in March.

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Darrell Smith is The Sacramento Bee’s courts reporter. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.


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