Police seek help identifying 2 persons of interest after Black woman allegedly attacked by Trump supporters in downtown LA

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Police seek help identifying 2 persons of interest in downtown LA attack
Police continue to ask for the public's help in identifying two men who are persons of interest in a suspected hate crime that took place at a pro-Trump rally in downtown Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Police continue to ask for the public's help in identifying two men who are persons of interest' in a suspected hate crime that took place outside City Hall, where photos show a Black woman being accosted by a group of pro-Trump demonstrators who, she said, called her racial slurs and assaulted her.

Images of the woman being grabbed while surrounded by a crowd holding flags and wearing Trump hats at a protest in downtown Los Angeles on same day a destructive mob breached the U.S. Capitol were shared widely on social media.

Berlinda Nibo, 25, was later interviewed by police, and a hate crime and battery report was completed.

RELATED: LAPD investigating after Black woman attacked by Trump supporters in downtown LA

The woman says the crowd of Trump supporters started to harass her - she was hit in the face and others jumped her.

Two men who were photographed among a group surrounding Nibo were being sought by police.

One man, described as roughly 40 to 45 years old, white and roughly 6 feet tall, was seen in one of the pictures wearing a gray hat with an American flag on it and a gray shirt with "45'' on the front.

A second man, described as white with brown eyes, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, was wearing a black hat, black tactical vest and ripped jean shorts in the photos. Police said the man is roughly 30 to 40 years old.

"There is zero tolerance for crimes based in hate and the department will aggressively pursue every lead to bring individuals to justice,'' the department said in a news release.

Nibo told the Los Angeles Times she had come upon the protest Wednesday while walking to get breakfast with a friend. The pair initially crossed the street to avoid the crowd, but soon after realized the friend's phone was missing. She told the Times she began calling it while her friend rode on a skateboard through the crowd to look.

That's when people began following her, asking her whether she knew who Joe Biden is and if she voted for Donald Trump, Nibo told the newspaper.

Soon, people began hurling racial slurs and chanting "white lives matter,'' according to the Times.

Nibo told the paper she flipped off members of the crowd and people began shoving her before someone grabbed her phone and one woman tore off her wig.

A man then came up and grabbed her from behind, holding her so she couldn't move.

Nibo told the Times she thought, "I'm dead right here, these people are trying to kill me.''

RELATED: FBI bulletin: Armed protests planned in all 50 states between now and Inauguration Day

The FBI sent out a bulletin Monday advising there are armed protests planned at all 50 state capitals ahead of the Biden inauguration, after a violent insurrection at the US Capitol.

The man, who was photographed holding Nibo, "was determined to be a Good Samaritan that helped her get away from the hostile crowd, by carrying her to safety,'' LAPD wrote in a tweet the next day. Nibo said the man was whispering in her ear, telling her to "calm down,'' and that he wasn't going to hurt her, she told the Times.

The Good Samaritan was an employee of a Southern California Toyota dealership and, according to a tweet from Toyota, the man was no longer employed by the dealership.

The newspaper reported that an LAPD spokesman said the agency opened a personnel investigation over complaints by Nibo that officers at the scene did not try to investigate the attack despite her urging.

In a news release Monday, the LAPD said "the department is committed to ensuring all efforts are made to support prosecution of this alleged hate crime while ensuring that people of every background are protected and served with equality.''

The stomach-churning images that circulated online were taken on the same day as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. and took over the House and Senate chambers, ransacking the place in a stunning scene.

Anyone with information on the people of interest can call the department at 213-996-1248.

City News Service contributed to this report.