SAN DIEGO — A group of men, accused of having ties to Antifa, were arraigned at the downtown San Diego courthouse Monday. Prosecutors say they crashed a rally organized by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and violently attacked at least 16 people - some with bear spray.
It happened January 9 in Pacific Beach during a pro-Trump rally that supporters called a "Patriot March." An estimated 100 counterprotesters showed up and, according to prosecutors, a group of left-wing, anti-fascist activists, instigated violence.
“In this case, it is essentially a group beat down that happens over eight different attacks involving 16 different victims,” said Deputy District Attorney Will Hopkins.
Monday afternoon, seven of the nine people arrested so far appeared in court for their arraignment. They all entered not guilty pleas and denied any and all allegations.
During one arraignment, the attorney for defendant Luis Mora asked for his client to be released from custody on his own recognizance. Deputy District Attorney Hopkins responded with this, “Your honor, in this case, we have Mr. Mora using bear mace on multiple individuals. We have Mr. Mora attempting to swing at a local photographer.”
Judge Peter Gallagher set his bail at $70,000.
The rally was organized before the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., but took place three days after it, while tensions were still high. Many of the most aggressive counterprotesters had masks, making them harder to identify, but after months of investigating, police identified 10 alleged attackers. They were arrested Thursday across Southern California. We’re told police are still looking to arrest one more suspect, but haven’t been able to find him. Those arrested range in age from 21-39 and they face multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit a riot, assault and vandalism.
Watch Related: Protests in Pacific Beach turn violent (Jan 9, 2021)