California prosecutors are charging at least 11 antifa militants with conspiracy to commit a riot in one of the first instances of the group being treated as a criminal organization by the justice system.
Police arrested eight people throughout southern California on Thursday who allegedly committed violent criminal acts against those participating in a pro-Trump “Patriot March” in January, The San Diego Union Tribune (SDUT) reported. Some of the arrestees were booked in jail for charges related to the use of tear gas and even suspicion of animal cruelty, according to SDUT.
In addition to the seven individuals arraigned Monday, three others are facing charges and one man, 37, has a warrant out for his arrest, according to SDUT.
Prosecutors claimed the group attacked at least 16 people, some with bear spray, CBS 8 reported. Seven of the men arrested Friday were reportedly charged with assault. Prosecutors said they self-identified as “anti-fascists,” SDUT reported.
Jonathan White, an alleged antifa member, is facing charges of conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon, use of tear gas not in self-defense and animal cruelty, according to SDUT.
The attacks described by prosecutors closely matched publicly available videos of a man dressed in black attacking a man and a dog with pepper spray in addition to about one dozen black-clad men attacking protesters with a lawn chair, pepper-spraying a man directly in the face and beating a woman to the ground with a flag pole.
Several of the men in the videos show them carrying antifa flags and most are dressed in all black, including face coverings that obscure their identities.