Dozens gather in Anaheim for vigil to denounce violence, hate after KKK rally fight

EMBED </>More Videos

More than two dozen people gathered at Pearson Park in Anaheim to denounce hate and violence just two days after a bloody confrontation between the KKK and counter-protesters. (KABC)

More than two dozen people gathered at Pearson Park in Anaheim to denounce hate and violence just two days after a bloody confrontation between the KKK and counter-protesters.

People from various community groups, churches and residents took part in a peace walk from Pearson Park to Anaheim City Hall where a candlelight vigil got underway at 7 p.m. Some participants asked for the release of counter-protesters who were still in custody.

Violence broke out at Pearson Park Saturday afternoon after six KKK members arrived in a black SUV for a planned protest. Police said the Klan members were confronted by 10 to 20 counter-protesters.

"The suburban takes off with three of the (Klan) members. Three more are left there and they're literally running down the street trying to get away and they're being attacked as they run," Anaheim Police spokesman Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.

Video shot by Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, shows the violent confrontation.

"They continue to chase, punch, kick, knock the Klansman to the ground," Levin said. "I then was running interference between the crowd and the Klansman, telling them to stop - we don't need violence."

He added that he attended the protest, to gather research.

Three counter-protesters were stabbed and one remains in the hospital in stable condition. Two KKK members were stomped while on the ground.

Police arrested 12 people - seven counter-protesters and five KKK members. The five Klan members were later released.

"We had extensive video evidence as well as the statements that presented clear and convincing evidence that the members of the KKK were acting in self-defense," Wyatt said.

Anaheim police said they had a plan in place in case of any trouble, with plainclothes officers on scene monitoring and marked police cars arriving within less than two minutes of the report of violence.

"We're standing by the fact that we were prepared and that's evidenced by the result of everybody but one being in custody," Wyatt said.

Police said only one of the seven arrested lives in Anaheim.

"These are people who came to Anaheim to perpetrate violence," Wyatt said.

Police continue to look for a suspect wearing a blue T-shirt who was caught on video kicking a Klan member in the head as he lay on the ground.

"That's a serious violation. It's assault with a force likely to cause great bodily injury," Wyatt said.

Anyone with information can call OC Crime Stoppers 1-855-TIP-OCCS.
Related Topics:
newskkkracismfightprotestarreststabbingvigilAnaheimOrange County
(Copyright ©2017 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments