In a hearing Friday, Sacramento County Judge Michael Savage said that the evidence does not support the argument that charges against Yvette Felarca — a Berkeley middle school teacher and vocal member of a violence-embracing activist group — and her Antifa co-defendents are the result of a politically motivated "witch hunt."
Felarca is being charged with "assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, a felony, and inciting a riot, a misdemeanor," for her role in a bloody streetfight with a neo-Nazi group in 2016, Berkeleyside reports. The violent melee occurred when Felarca's Antifa group, "By Any Means Necessary" (BAMN), clashed with members of the white supremacist groups Traditionalist Workers Party and Golden State Skinheads, who had obtained permission to protest at the State Capitol in June 2016. The melee resulted in multiple people suffering serious injuries, including stab wounds.
The District Attorney has charged four people involved in the violence: three suspected Antifa members — Felarca, Michael Williams and Porfirio Paz — and one suspected Neo-Nazi, William Planer. Williams and Paz are charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, while Planer is charged with felony assault. Video footage of the event shows Felarca, who has a history of radical activism, engaged in the violence (video below).
The Antifa activists' attorneys filed a motion for dismissal claiming that the DA and the California Highway Patrol colluded against them in what they describe as a politically-motivated "witchunt." But Judge Savage says the defendants failed to show any convincing evidence of their claims.
"Simply nothing in these exhibits supports the defendants’ claims … that they were unjustly or unfairly culled out," Savage said in court Friday.
The basis of Felarca and her co-defendants' argument was that authorities had "disproportionately" gone after Antifa members, a notion dismissed by the prosecution. Berkeleyside reports:
"No one from my office really cares” about the defendants’ racial or political identities, said Paris Coleman, Sacramento County deputy district attorney. “That’s not why they were charged. They are captured on video committing crimes, unfortunately for them.”
After its lengthy investigation, the CHP submitted more than 100 arrest warrants from the rally, but the DA determined that most did not meet the office’s standards for filing charges, or were not backed by enough evidence, according to a statement by the DA. Coleman said the DA had the ethical obligation to go after the cases that could be proven, and nothing else.
The preliminary hearing for the case is set for July 20. Read more about the case here. Below is some of the video footage that became part of the case against Felarca: