ANAHEIM (CNS / FOX 11) - Officers stationed at an Anaheim park in advance of a planned Ku Klux Klan rally that turned violent called for backup as planned and additional units arrived at the scene 1 minute and 36 seconds after the first report of violence was received, police said Monday.
Three counter-protesters were stabbed while clashing with KKK members, one of whom was hospitalized after being stomped when the rally turned into a melee about 12:10 p.m. Saturday at Pearson Park, 400 N. Harbor Blvd., according to Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.
A dozen people were arrested, but five, including a male juvenile were ultimately released after investigators pored over evidence, including video provided to police at the scene and posted on websites. The child was arrested again Monday afternoon and booked at juvenile hall on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Wyatt said.
"This arrest stems from additional video evidence of the juvenile's actions and his involvement in the violence,'' Wyatt said.
Of the rest, who were booked on suspicion of assault or elder abuse because a stomped KKK member was over 65 years old, only one was from Anaheim, Wyatt said.
One of the stabbed counter-protesters was rushed to a hospital in critical condition after being stabbed with an eagle ornament at the end of a pole holding a Confederate flag, but his condition was later upgraded to
stable. The other two were in stable condition when taken to a hospital, Wyatt said.
Although only counter-protesters were stabbed, Wyatt said the group, which numbered 10-20 compared to less than 10 KKK members, was believed to have initiated the violence.
Wyatt said six marked Anaheim police units were at the scene within two minutes after the trouble started.
"Additional units continued arriving over the next few minutes,'' Wyatt said. "Officers rendered medical aid to those who were injured and arrested all but one of the suspects who were engaged in the majority of the violence.''
Police Chief Raul Quezada on Monday reiterated statements calling for people to refrain from violence despite opposing viewpoints.
"As stated previously, I implore everyone to respond with peace and dignity, regardless of where your support lies,'' he said. "We have a unique opportunity to bond together as our Anaheim community.''
To Lowell Smith, the entire incident could possibly have been avoided.
Smith spent his career doing undercover work on groups like the KKK. He’s a retired deputy probation officer, and doesn't believe Anaheim police had officers on hand or people would not have been stabbed.
Authorities knew there was going to be a demonstration. Given that, Smith said he would have set a protest zone and had police as a buffer keeping the groups apart.
A group of community and faith leaders planned to gather Monday night for a candlelight vigil and march at Pearson Park, organizers said.
Other than the juvenile, whose name was withheld because of his age, the arrested suspects were identified as:
- Charles Edward Donner, 51, of San Francisco, who was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, with bail set at $25,000;
- Nicole Rae Schop, 24, of Los Angeles, who was booked on suspicion of elder abuse, with bail set at $50,000;
- Marquis DeShawn Turner, 20, of Anaheim, who was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, with bail set at $25,000;
- Randy Felder, 25, of Lakewood, who was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, with bail set at $25,000;
- Mark Anthony Liddell, 26, of Los Angeles, who was booked on suspicion of elder abuse, with bail set at $50,000;
- Guy Harris, 19, a transient who was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, with bail set at $25,000; and
- Hugo Contreras, 38, of Hawthorne, who was booked on suspicion of elder abuse, with bail set at $50,000.