It Is Unacceptable That Only Left-Wing Counterprotesters Are Arrested From January Clash With Trump Supporters in Pacific Beach

by on December 6, 2021 · 48 comments

in Election, San Diego

Screen grab from video shows Trump supporter in light blue shirt sucker-punching man in black shirt.

On January 9 this year, when Trump was still calling himself “president” and just 3 days after the Trump-inspired violent insurrection at the Capitol, pro-Trump supporters held a rally in Pacific Beach.

This was a time when Trump was still trying to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory and about one hundred Trump supporters showed up in PB for a so-called “Patriot March.”

And roughly 100 counterprotesters also showed up. Many of these were Americans sickened by the Capitol insurrection attempt and by Trump’s continued refusal to admit defeat.

Clashes did break out that Saturday afternoon between the Trumpists and the counterprotesters.

San Diego Police Department were also in attendance and eventually declared an unlawful assembly — but it only applied to the counterprotesters.

At the time, Kylee Belanger, director of the San Diego National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer Program, who documented the police response to the events in Pacific Beach, told the Union-Tribune then she believed the Police Department showed clear bias against the counterprotesters. Belanger said in January that she and other lawyers from the Legal Observer Program witnessed “combat” on both sides of the protests, but said police didn’t deal with Trump supporters in the same way they policed counterprotesters.

Well, lo and behold, fast forward to last Thursday, December 2. On that day San Diego Police officers and sheriff’s deputies across Southern California arrested eight people who they alleged committed “violent criminal acts” in January while counterprotesting the pro-Trump event. They have warrants for one other. This despite eyewitnesses and videos that demonstrate that Trump supporters committed violence.

Counterprotester with George Floyd shirt being surrounded by Trump insurrectionists. Man on right with blue shirt spits and then sucker punches man with shirt.

But those arrested are only the counterprotesters, the left-wingers. To date, no right-wingers have been arrested from the incident. According to arrest records and online jail records, the men taken into custody Thursday were each arrested on suspicion of felony criminal conspiracy and assault charges.

The moment Trump insurrectionist spits at man with George Floyd shirt. He is clearly able to be recognized.

The Union-Tribune reported that its reporters and editors documented some acts of violence at the scene from both the pro-Trump rallygoers and the counterprotesters. Video taken during the clashes documented that:

a pro-Trump crowd attacked a barefoot man wearing a George Floyd T-shirt. Just before the attack, a man from the group spit on the barefoot man. Moments later, as the shoeless man was trying to break up a fight between two women, the spitting man sucker punched the barefoot man, dropping him to the ground.

Two other men from the right-wing group — including one carrying a Trump flag — punched and kicked the man while he was on the ground.

The U-T reported that neither police or the DA’s office responded to questions about whether any of the pro-Trump protesters were being investigated for the violence they carried out that day.

The lopsided response by police and the DA’s office to this incident is stunning. Unless pro-Trump supporters are investigated and also arrested, this is a clear case of prejudice against left-wingers and represents a uneven approach by law enforcement to political protests. To charge and arrest only those who came to protest Trump insurrectionists who were quite frankly celebrating a violent attempt to overthrow the government is unacceptable.

The San Diego Police Department and the DA have some answering to do.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie December 6, 2021 at 1:06 pm

How come the mainstream media called left-wingers “anti-fascists” but don’t call the Trump supporters “fascists”?


Dr Jack Hammer December 6, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Great Question Frank!

I think ‘framing’ is a major reason. Eddie Bernays 101. It’ s all part of the game.


Greg Lannit December 6, 2021 at 1:19 pm

From reading accounts of these events and watching several videos, it was evident that far too many San Diego police officers are Trump or right wing group supporters/sympathizers. I’d suggest checking out the social media posts of San Diego police officers, especially those involved in shootings, killings, and brutality and publicizing the results. Here’s the Police Department’s list of its police officers:


Mat Wahlstrom December 6, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Amen to this. Only quibble is that this assumes all the counter-protestors were “left-wing.” Many were there to oppose the fascistic actions of the J6 rioters being repeated here, which is a centrist concern as well, as well as innocent bystanders (such as the unhoused the Trumpers also attacked).

It is especially alarming to read the search warrant requested by SDPD that was authorized by the court. The property for seizure listed in full:
1. Any flags, decorations, or paraphrenalia showing association to “Antifa”;
2. Memory cards, flash drives, and electronic storage device(s);
3. Video recording devices such as “GoPro” or similar recording device(s);
4. Cell phone(s) belonging to [name redacted];
5. Personal laptop, tablet, iPad, or other computer(s) belonging to [name redacted].

No weapons, no contraband, nothing illegal mentioned at all. If we survive as a republic, this will be yet another massive settlement San Diegans will have to pay.


Toby December 6, 2021 at 1:33 pm

Yes Frank, tell it. The time is long overdue to tell it like is is; Trump and his supporters are treasonous fascists.


kh December 6, 2021 at 3:11 pm

It’s concerning if SDPD is in fact showing political bias in its arrests. For this to hold true, it means they ignored opportunities to detain identify and arrest Trump-aligned protestors engaging in criminal behavior.

But simply saying it happened does not make it true. What is the factual basis for the statement below? Can someone attest to the political beliefs of each person who was arrested?
“But those arrested are only the counterprotesters, the left-wingers. To date, no right-wingers have been arrested from the incident.”


Mat Wahlstrom December 6, 2021 at 3:28 pm

It comes from the U-T article Frank linked to: “Neither [SDPD spokesperson] Sharki nor [District Attorney’s comms director] Walker responded to questions about whether any of the pro-Trump protesters were being investigated for the violence they carried out that day. …

Police arrested two men and one juvenile on the day of the protest on charges related to alleged assaults on police officers and failing to disperse after the unlawful assembly was declared. They were not among the group arrested Thursday on conspiracy charges.”


kh December 6, 2021 at 3:35 pm

I read that. It’s a non-answer and it doesn’t say anything about the political persuasion of those who were arrested.


Mat Wahlstrom December 6, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Don’t believe that’s the case. If you think any of “the men taken into custody Thursday were each arrested on suspicion of felony criminal conspiracy and assault charges” for alleged association with “Antifa” would even remotely be Trump supporters, then I don’t know what else to say.


Shads December 7, 2021 at 11:36 am

Police logs at a later incident indicate that they know the identity of at least one of the fascists who assaulted the couple in the alley. I’ll search for the link. They also have the same ability to find and arrest the fascists after the incident but they only did that to one side.


Chris December 6, 2021 at 8:30 pm

So what actually happened? Were the right wingTrump supporters just marching and chanting or were they actually inciting violence? Where the counter protesters using violence? If so was it in self defense against the Trumpers or did they start it?


Chris December 7, 2021 at 6:47 am

Nevermind. I commented before reading the article.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 8:25 am

The National Lawyers Guild wrote:

“The National Lawyers Guild had legal observers at this event and has
documented numerous incidents of violence by right wing demonstrators
against both counter-demonstrators and others yet no charges have been
filed in connection with any of these acts of violence. The National
Lawyers Guild denounces the biased actions of the District Attorney in
targeting only counter-demonstrators and ignoring violence committed by
right wing demonstrators.”


Peter from South O December 7, 2021 at 8:25 am

I am not an apologist for the right wing idiots that showed up to support the orange menace, but watching video of the altercations show counter-protesters dressed in black from head to foot, including goggles and full-face masks. This is a conspiracy charge, and I believe it to be appropriate. If we want to preserve our right to peaceful protest we have to differentiate ourselves from those who advocate violence.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Peter, you’re falling into a trap here; you completely rely on the DA’s statement and in doing so have indeed become at least here an apologist for the rightwing idiots. The counterprotesters were not all dressed in black. Talk of direct action is what Martin Luther King did before the Montgomery bus boycott; it’s how anti-war students helped get the country out of Vietnam; it’s what Gandhi organized in India – the list goes on and on. You are taking the DA’s definition of direct action which turns it on its head. The counterprotesters were standing up to the violence perpetrated against our country at the Capitol by trump insurrectionists, and the trump supporters in PB were celebrating that event. And you don’t think that they conspired? And they didn’t commit any violence? To support “conspiracy charges” against those arrested is not appropriate. You want “peaceful protest”? Who is advocating violence against the country, dude???


Peter from South O December 7, 2021 at 4:45 pm

You are correct in that the counterprotesters were not all dressed in black. Quite the contrary: most of them were there to push back peacefully against the mob of idiots invading their town to celebrate the orange scourge.
BUT . . . the only ones charged by the DA were the group dressed in black committing acts of overt violence. The DA is charging them as conspiratorial troublemakers that coordinated their action between local and LA factions prior to their assaults.
Those are the facts. They don’t fit your narrative of generalization about political factions within the DA’s office and Police department, but this is a case that has been investigated and the rule of law will be demonstrated in court.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 4:55 pm

Oh, “the rule of law will be demonstrated in court” will it? “the facts”? The facts are that both sides engaged in “combat” but only one side is being punished. How can you rationalize that? (I don’t know why they dress in black, it’s stupid.)


Chris December 7, 2021 at 12:49 pm

If both sides were commiting violence then it’s appropriate to arrest people on both sides, regardless of who’s morally right or wrong in their stance. If I were to jump in my vehicle and head over to a klan rally and plow over supporters then I very wall should expect to be arrested and charged, even if the people I plow over are white Arian brotherhood knuckleheads. I have no idea who started throwing the first punches or who threw stuff first or what. If the police were only arresting one side when the other was also commting violence then yes that’s problematic. From all the clips I’ve seen both sides were fighting so something’s fishy if only members of the counter protest were arrested.


kh December 7, 2021 at 1:05 pm

It seems to be on a different level when a group of people come from out of town, concealing their identity head to toe in black, with helmets and goggles prepared for battle. This antifa gang is no better than the proud boys, just in different colors.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Yeah, and all those good guys, the MAGA insurrectionists were all just good ol’ San Diegans. Stop taking the media’s word for it. It is shameful how this came down and you have yet to cast any aspirations to the SDPD or DA and their prejudices.


kh December 7, 2021 at 10:18 am

Here’s more detail from the mouth of the DA. Every person engaging in violence should be arrested and charged, but that’s unlikely in a chaotic situation. Protesting does not make anyone exempt from laws, whether it be blocking traffic, or assault, but police usually give great leeway to protestors, I assume to avoid escalating a situation. Those arrested did self-identify as antifa, so read into it what you will about police bias.

“According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the defendants — who face charges ranging from assault to conspiracy to illegal use of tear gas — self-identify as anti-fascists and planned to gather at the Jan. 9 event to take what is called “direct action” against a pro-Trump “Patriot March.” The DA’s Office alleges “direct action” means “acts of
violence such as assault, battery, assault with deadly weapons, arson, and vandalism.”

Police and prosecutors allege two counter-protest groups from San Diego and Los Angeles gathered at the event and attacked people perceived to be members of the “Patriot March” group.

The DA’s Office alleges 16 people were either sprayed with mace and/or attacked with weapons, including chairs, sticks and glass bottles, including a juvenile who was hospitalized for a concussion and a dog that was sprayed with mace.”


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 10:32 am

Did you watch any of the videos? If you had, then you would have seen violent attacks against leftists. As a retired criminal defense attorney, I have learned not to take a DA’s statement as the gospel truth. And neither should you.


kh December 7, 2021 at 10:59 am

I absolutely don’t take anyone’s word for it, hence my questions. I posted the DA’s statement because it’s informative on their claimed position and basis for the arrests. Your article was not.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 11:43 am

Again, relying on any DA statement for truth is problematic. My article was a different narrative that other media are ignoring. It is downright shameful how the SDPD and DA handled this. That is what you ought to be addressing, not how my article wasn’t informative.


Peter from South O December 7, 2021 at 11:44 am

I sure DID watch the videos:


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Peter, the link you provided goes right to an alt-right site where trump, white supremacy and MAGA are celebrated. I declined to post it.


Peter from South O December 7, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Perhaps this one from Channel 8 will do? The previous link was the source from Channel 5’s report and shows the attack in question clearly enough.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 4:49 pm

This video shows no combat and does not even hint that there’s an imbalance or prejudice against left-wingers. It continues the false story that only lefties were violent. Meanwhile, look at what those trump people’s friends were doing over the weekend at the Lincoln Memorial. Check that out, Peter and I want to hear your concerns about peaceful protest.


Peter from South O December 7, 2021 at 5:12 pm

The only false story being peddled here is the whataboutism and false equivalence that the left is being attacked while the right is allowed to commit crimes.
This is a simple case of conspiracy to commit violence. It has absolutely nothing to do with the human cockroaches that paraded at the Lincoln memorial, nor does it have to do with someone being spat upon at the PB altercation.
It is charges being leveled against an organized group that used the PB counterprotest as cover for their assaults.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 6:41 pm

I’m not gonna response except to say you missed the part where the guy who spat on the Black man wearing a George Floyd t-shirt, then sucker punched him, causing him to collapse – and then the spitting guy’s friends piled on.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 10:35 am

The Times of SD article does not even hint of an imbalance, unevenness or bias, so does nothing to further our understanding of what is going on.


Peter from South O December 8, 2021 at 5:22 am

In my opinion, this is what fair reporting on the subject being discussed looks like:


Frank Gormlie December 8, 2021 at 11:32 am

Hardly “fair” at all. The article you linked to carries the same basic report of the others; no outrage or even questions why the other camp wasn’t charged. No hint of an unacceptable bias or uneven enforcement. Sure, more could be charged, but it’s telling when only one side gets punished.


kh December 8, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Journalism means presenting the facts and letting the reader make up their own mind. It is a fact that the DA said these things, it doesn’t necessarily make them true, nor did the author assert they were. It also means reaching out to opposing sides on controversial issues and presenting their side if responsive, and noting if they aren’t.

When a “journalist” wants to sell me their outrage or tell me what to think, I generally go elsewhere.


Geoff Page December 8, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Yes, I agree that classic journalism means presenting the facts and letting the readers make up their minds. But, sometimes, facts are either missed or intentionally ignored in what appears to be objective journalism. That is the flaw in classic journalism that everyone believes is so objective and fair. Frank’s piece focused on what was either missed or intentionally ignored and it was a pretty big piece of the story. The trouble with mainstream journalism today is they work like water bugs and sit lightly on the surface. Whether or not anyone agrees with Frank’s claim, it can be factually supported.


Frank Gormlie December 8, 2021 at 3:57 pm

So-called “objective journalism” went out the door long ago. That’s why there was a birth of underground newspapers in the 1960s and 70s, including the original OB Rag. The mainstream media was not telling the truth about the Vietnam War, the assault on African-Americans, etc. And that’s why the online OB Rag began in 2007, because once again, the mainstream press was lying to us about the Iraq war. Growing up in San Diego, one is inundated with the dominant conservatism that gripped this part of the country for decades. The current OB Rag is a citizen journalist based advocacy platform. We don’t have resources to track down every innuendo and issue. So we must by design assert a different narrative than what has been presented here in links in comments to the mainstream press. Now, there are areas where objective news is needed, like when a father drives his kids off the cliffs, or where a Navy man murders his wife and stuffs her somewhere for a year or two. Or when a serial killer stalked and murdered homeless people. So-called objective news hides their bias and prejudice. We’re upfront with ours.

Oh, shall I remind you that we’re not paid. (We do give our assignment writers a pittance to cover their anguish.)


Mat Wahlstrom December 7, 2021 at 1:00 pm

I’m really at a loss to understand some of the comments happening here.

At this very moment, we have Congress conducting an investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, all indications of which are that it was an actual criminal conspiracy among Trump and his agents and supporters.

Yet here in San Diego, our government is focused solely on identifying and punishing those who *opposed* this conspiracy, doing nothing to follow up on the findings of the Select Committee as they reveal local residents who were rioters there and again here three days later.

Did we forget about Ashli Babbitt?

I expect such bad faith ‘both-sidesing’ from Trump trolls. But the willingness to not just overlook but excuse the behavior of our law enforcement by otherwise sensible-seeming others is as mind-boggling as it is worrying.


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2021 at 1:06 pm

Not only what’s her name, but what about that other guy from OB who was at the Capitol insurrection? Thanks, Mat, for summing this up. I’m also at a loss at people taking the DA’s word, the media’s word, and ignoring what eye-witnesses and trained observers saw.


kh December 8, 2021 at 7:54 pm

Well she was shot dead and another OBcean was arrested for the capitol protest. So you can’t use that as an example of police inaction.

Antifa has been around engaging in violence long before Trump showed up.

Perhaps SDPD focused on these 8 because of their link to antifa, or perhaps because they were easiest to identify. Or perhaps because they were the most violent ones there. Or maybe the cops are just racist and have a vendetta against BLM supporters. Were there other counterprotestors there also engaging in violence that weren’t arrested? The facts here are certainly interesting and if it goes to trial we’ll see all the evidence come out.

Maybe next time there’s a protest the police can get entrants to sign a form indicating what side they support and if they plan on getting violent, it would make their job easier nabbing everyone.


Eric B December 7, 2021 at 6:05 pm

I was there. It was pretty equal on both sides! Ridiculous that only one side is prosecuted! MAGA showed up to battle as much as the counter protestors. I witnessed first hand.


Bearded OBcean December 8, 2021 at 10:00 am

Unless I’m missing something, I’m not sure who’s suggesting that members of both sides of the protest should not have been equally charged if warranted.

That one side was not charged is egregious, certainly, but there seems to be a current here that only the treasonous MAGA ass-hats should have been and not those who showed up wearing black from head to toe to confront them, again if warranted.

The fact that they are self-described anti-fascists, and not, you know, fascists themselves, is a topic for another day.


Frank Gormlie December 8, 2021 at 10:19 am

You got it, my friend. Who is suggesting this? Try every damn mainstream media report – what’s missing in their reports says a lot.


Chris December 8, 2021 at 10:25 am

Internet misunderstandings and misinterpretations can make for some good popcorn eatin, especially when people who are otherwise on the same side are getting more heated with each other than if they were engaging with the enemy.


Frank Gormlie December 9, 2021 at 8:26 am

Yeah, Chris, pass the popcorn.


Frank Gormlie December 9, 2021 at 8:34 am

Every reporter, every editor and every publisher comes to the project with their embedded class, racial and sexual bias. Even what is covered as “news” is cherry-picked and is a result of bias.

Why didn’t mainstream reporters ask the DA rep why members of the other camp weren’t arrest? Why didn’t they push the SDPD for an explanation? Why didn’t they even raise the issue of uneven-ness? And here ya go: why didn’t the mainstream press question or quote from actual eyewitnesses and trained legal observers who saw both sides commit “combat”??

There is indeed bias in what is excluded, not asked or ignored. None of these mainstream media accounts of the incident are fair – so why are so many commenters defending these reports? Partially perhaps we have been shaped by the media to simply accept the “official” word and not question what they say. If a talking head or TV reporter says it, it must be true.


Frank Gormlie December 9, 2021 at 8:42 am

It’s interesting how this post generated a discussion of the media, its role, and failures.

Here’s a couple of examples of the failure of San Diego’s mainstream press:

1) During much of the time a serial killer of homeless people was on his rampage, the local media refused to call him a “serial killer,” despite the definition of a serial killer being met by the monster. Only the OB Rag did so. Was it because the establishment didn’t want to see the words in bold headline as it would scare away the tourists?

2) Why did it take the small, barefoot, penniless OB Rag and its diligent reporter Geoff Page to uncover the real story behind the damage to the OB San Diego Pier? The information and expertise were available to every news outlet in town, yet none sought or thought to do anything about it.

3) Why is it the OB Rag is the only platform attempting to keep track of all the deaths and serious injuries from Sunset Cliffs over time?


sealintheSelkirks December 9, 2021 at 9:06 pm

Since when did ANY radical rightwing racist pro-Trump rally not turn into violence? The orange menace promoted it at his rallies on video!

That’s what they live for. You should see what’s been happening in Seattle and Portland up here. The corporate news does NOT tell the reality as these brownshirts LIVE for this sh*t.

Look up the words of Stephen B. Jacobs, Buchenwald camp survivor at Occupy Democrats who said: “America today feels like 1929 or 1930 Berlin….Appeasement of Fascism is what led to everything.”

I am oh-so-over trying to be ‘reasonable’ with these Fascists. My grandpas Dewey and Harold fought Fascism with M-1 Garands and tommy guns.

As for that obviously violent Fascist-supporting 1/6 rioter Ashli Babbit from Lakeside (so she moved recently, doesn’t count in my book as her home town has always been a GOP stronghold), you wanna tell me that if a screaming armed mob was breaking through your doors and windows screaming they want to hang you holding ropes and she was the first one in, exactly who wouldn’t shoot her dumb ass? And then next 14 coming through the window for that matter.

And as for the SDPD, come on whose side have they always been on? I grew up under those jack boots as it was their natural inclination or they wouldn’t have been hired. It’s much worse now I think, more dangerous as cops get caught on camera fist-bumping at 1/6, and as this very one-sided arrests shows not much has changed in attitudessince I was dodging their clubs and flashlights as a pony-tailed surfer kid at anti-war protests…fifty years+ ago.



sealintheSelkirks December 10, 2021 at 1:07 pm

As a follow-up to my rant, it’s going to get worse:

President of California Medical Board Says She Was Followed, Harassed in Walnut Creek

Like what I said about climbing through windows screaming ‘hang them’ holding ropes; when does flying a drone over your house peeking in your windows and following your daughter to school and you with your little kids to their school become so scary that one starts thinking about how to fight back? This is Fascist behavior, intimidation, planting fear which eats people up from the inside.

What I really don’t get is how County Supervisor Gioia can label something like this “unfortunate,” and TWICE in the same sentence. Somebody obviously stalking me and my kids would be far more than just problematic.



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