Things got nasty in Anaheim, California earlier this week, when a Ku Klux Klan rally was interrupted by counter-protesters.
In an incredibly violent video shared by Steve Kuzj, these counter-protesters can be seen attacking members of the KKK. Police eventually arrive, and arrests were made on both sides.
(Warning: this video contains graphic content).
With seven counter-protesters and five KKK members arrested, police are being criticised for brutality. One lawyer – defending three of the protesters – said of one of his clients:
“He’s treated like a filthy dirty criminal, and then [the police] are very polite and civil to these KKK guys, who have stabbed three people. All Mr. Contreras did was try to help his friend. It was almost like this was set up in part by the police, for not showing up.”
After reviewing the videos shot at the scene, however, police have concluded that the counter-protesters incited the violence, and the KKK members were acting in self-defence.
This is probably exactly what William Quigg – the leader of that particular faction of the KKK – was aiming for. As Cal State San Bernardino professor Brian Levin explained to The Los Angeles Times, The Loyal White Knights – as they are known – often stage rallies in areas they know will incite a furious response:
“This is the loathsome level that this group seeks to descend. They like publicity and they like turning conflict around to say, ‘See our point is proven.’”
Several community and religious groups are planning a candlelit vigil for this weekend, to demonstrate their, “commitment to peace and non-violence in the face of hate.”