SoCal activists accused of assault, using violent tactics held without bail

Rob McMillan Image
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
SoCal activists accused of violent tactics held without bail
Activists spoke out over the arrest of a man known as a defender of SoCal street vendors. He and seven others remain in jail over charges related to a protest that deputies say turned violent.

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KABC) -- Dozens of protestors - furious over the arrest of a community activist and several of his colleagues - demonstrated in front of the Victorville courthouse Monday morning.

Inside the courthouse, Edin Alex Enamorado pleaded not guilty to several felony charges, including assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment and conspiracy.

"This is a playbook straight out of a third-world country," said Christian Contreras, an attorney representing Enamorado. "They are criminalizing the right to protest, they are criminalizing the right to call out elected officials and they are criminalizing their critics."

Enamorado was arrested along with seven other suspects for charges related to an investigation into a Sept. 24 protest in Victorville that authorities said turned violent.

Demonstrators were gathered to protest an incident of alleged excessive use-of-force by a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on a teenage girl.

"These protests were done in response to a young woman who was being choke slammed to the floor," Contreras said. "When they were protesting, there was a vehicle that ran into the protest... and in response, of course the protestors were around the vehicle saying 'What's going on? There's a protest going on. Can you move your vehicle?'"

Contreras denies that Enamorado was involved in any violence against the people inside the vehicle.

But detectives with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said Enamorado and his group surrounded the vehicle, and ultimately assaulted and used pepper spray on them.

"This group manipulates videos on social media in an attempt to make them look like protectors of underrepresented people," said Sheriff Shannon Dicus at a news conference last week.

"However, they use racism to threaten and intimidate their victims, causing them to get on their knees to beg for forgiveness while still assaulting them," Discus added.

During the arraignment, Judge Shannon Faherty decided to keep Enamorado and the other defendants behind bars and ineligible for bail, citing the potential for danger to the community.

Christian Contreras, who arrived late to the proceeding, took issue with the judge's decision to preliminarily appoint a public defender to represent Enamorado, calling the hearing "unconstitutional."

Contreras also said that it's unconscionable that the eight suspects he refers to as "The Justice Eight" would be held without bail.

"Not even people accused of murder have no bail holds," Contreras said.

A bail hearing and pre-preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 26.