Sacramento, California:

Police Team Up with Fascist Gangs to Bring Criminal Charges Against Protesters

February 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


In June 2016, the Traditionalist Worker Party, a fascist organization, organized a rally at the statehouse steps in Sacramento, California. They called the rally to support the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump, saying they were defending the “free speech” of Trump supporters who were supposedly being suppressed by leftist demonstrators (at a time when Trump was urging his supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies). The fascists came to the statehouse armed with sticks, knives, and other weapons. They viciously assaulted counterprotesters—at least five reportedly suffered stab wounds. A Black journalist covering the rally was hospitalized for two weeks after being stabbed, and he had to undergo serious surgery.

Almost a year after the protest, three of the people who were protesting against the fascist rally were arrested. They now face serious felony charges and, if convicted, potentially years in prison. One of them, Yvette Felarca, is a spokesperson for the group BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) and a major target of the fascists. As part of their legal defense, the defendants obtained police reports and other evidence that shows the police worked closely with the fascists after the June 2016 event to try to protect the fascist street fighters from public exposure; to build a legal case against the counterprotesters; and to paint a distorted picture of what had happened to make it appear that the fascists were the innocent and aggrieved party, and those opposing them were violent criminals. Videos taken by fascist forces on the scene were edited and then posted on fascist websites, and these are being used as “evidence” against the defendants in the criminal case.

This case is a serious legal attack on anti-fascist forces. And the evidence that was uncovered sheds light on a very dangerous trend nationally—the close collaboration of police and fascist street-fighting forces. This is part of a pattern across the country—in Charlottesville, Berkeley, and other places, police have worked with fascists to track down and build criminal cases against people protesting against fascist street thugs.

Police Attacked Anti-Fascist Protesters from the Beginning

From the day of the event, police spokesmen began claiming to the media that the violence was “caused” by the anti-fascists. Sacramento police chief Sam Somers said, “This time the anarchists have taken a much more aggressive stance to wreak havoc on the city.” The media picked up this fabricated story and parroted it. The Los Angeles Times, for example, included in its article: “‘If I had to say who started it and who didn’t, I’d say the permitted group didn’t start it,’ said California Highway Patrol officer George Granada, a spokesman for its Protective Services division.” (The “permitted group” was the fascists.) This was before any investigation into a situation that was described by all accounts as very chaotic. The mainstream media coverage generally portrayed the police as neutral forces standing back and trying to maintain order while two extreme groups clashed. As we will see, this was all a lie—the media was playing its role as defender of the system, hiding the character and actions of the fascist street fighters and painting those opposing them as equally bad (or worse).

The police were well aware that the Traditionalist Worker Party 1 is an armed and dangerous fascist gang. They were well aware that just before the event in Sacramento, there was a rally of the same forces in Anaheim, California, where they attacked anti-fascist protesters. They knew the fascists carried weapons, including knives and guns.

Police Working Hand in Hand with Fascists

Police reports obtained by defense lawyers for the anti-fascist protesters make clear that from the beginning of the official “investigation,” the investigators were only going after anti-fascist protesters. The investigators issued a 2,000-page report almost totally focused on setting up the counterprotesters to be charged with serious crimes. They recommended to the district attorney that more than 100 people be charged. The DA’s office ended up throwing out most of these recommendations—except for the three defendants—saying they didn’t meet the minimum requirements for filing charges.

The defense attorneys, in their motion to dismiss all charges, said: “The California Highway Patrol and Sacramento District Attorney covered-up for and colluded with the fascists and are carrying out a political witch hunt against Felarca and other anti-fascist protesters.”

It is instructive... and important... to note that the Sacramento fascist rally took place in June 2016, before Trump’s election. Fascist gangs were already mobilizing. We can see from the released police documents that the political witch hunt and police collaboration with the fascists around this case was already being carried out by elements of the Sacramento police and California Highway Patrol (CHP). We get a glimpse of the inner workings of how closely the police worked with the fascists to target anti-fascist protesters, while the police told the fascists they were “the victims” and were taking steps to protect them:

  • The pigs worked with a TWP member, Derik Punneo, showing him photos to identify anti-fascist activists and told him, “We’re pretty much going after them. We’re looking at you as a victim.” Punneo had been found at the June 2016 event with a knife on him, and he was in close proximity to two of the anti-fascist protesters who were stabbed, including one who believed it was Punneo who stabbed him. But no charges were ever brought against Punneo.
  • CHP investigator Donovan Ayres told Doug McCormack, the TWP figure who organized the protest and was armed with a knife at the time, that he “would try to protect” him. Ayres said, “I’m gonna suggest that we hold that or redact your name or something until this gets resolved.” The pig also told McCormack that he would give him the name of any person who was requesting records of the permit.

The anti-fascist counter-protesters were gone after based on their political views when they were clearly the victims of near-deadly attacks by the fascists.

  • Ayres recommended that a Black anti-fascist protester, who had been stabbed three times, be charged with 11 offenses, including disturbing the peace, conspiracy, assault, unlawful assembly, and wearing a mask to evade police. The Guardian reported, “As evidence, Ayres provided Facebook photos of the man holding up his fist. The officer wrote that the man’s ‘Black Power salute’ and his ‘support for anti-racist activism’ demonstrated his ‘intent and motivation to violate the civil rights’ of the neo-Nazi group. He was ultimately not charged.”
  • Ayres’ report noted the political activism of Yvette Felarca, who is now facing charges stemming from the protest, by referencing in “great detail” her support of “students of color and women’s rights protests.”

Through the actions around this case, a green light was being sent to these fascist gangs nationwide: a green light to them that it’s OK to violently attack—including to attempt to murder—anti-fascist protesters. A clear signal that the police will have the fascists’ backs, and that elements of the state apparatus itself will also forcefully go after opposition to these fascists. And since then, there have indeed been growing waves of violence by fascist gangs, including the August 2017 murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, and other attempted murders and mass shootings.

It is important to expose, oppose, and turn back this legal attack on the Sacramento anti-fascist protesters. The effects of this case go beyond the immediate impact on these three defendants. These outrageous charges are another link in the moves to greatly strengthen the repressive apparatus of the government, aimed at more viciously clamping down on those in society who oppose them, as well as more generally on Black and other oppressed people, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and anyone who values diversity and the humanity of the most vulnerable—all as part of the attempt to consolidate fascist rule in the U.S.


1.The leader of the forerunner of the TWP (called Traditionalist Youth Network) wrote a piece in 2013 titled “I Hate Freedom” in which he wrote things like:

  • “Rabid dogs are put down, not allowed around the family kids. Our enemies are sick animals and we need to treat them as such.”
  • Included in his enemies list: gay people, women who demand reproductive rights, non-white people who “move into white nations.”
  • “‘Freedom’ of assembly and ‘freedom’ of speech need not apply to Leftists, you are the enemy, pure and simple.”



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