Avowed “patriot” Kyle Chapman, aka “Based Stickman,” was arrested in Berkeley on Monday evening after he reportedly got into a fight with a skateboarder who struck him, as well as a man who brandished a large knife at him, police report.
According to video he posted online, Chapman marched through Berkeley carrying a large flag Monday to promote a “free speech” rally planned Saturday at Civic Center Park. “Just wanted to show you guys there is nothing to fear by coming out here and exercising our First Amendment rights,” he said, as he walked. “Most of the inhabitants of this city are a bunch of fucking cowards that couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag.”
Chapman, 41, of San Francisco describes himself on his website as a “protector of freedom” and “destroyer of antifa,” or anti-fascists. He posted a video on his Facebook page that shows at least part of Monday’s confrontation. His video, posted Tuesday shortly before 8:30 p.m., has been viewed more than 144,000 times and shared nearly 2,000 times.
In the video, Chapman and several supporters are walking through downtown Berkeley’s Civic Center Park already in a shouting match with half a dozen young men who are following him and telling him to leave the area. “You gonna pull out a knife too?” one man asks him. “I don’t wanna see y’all around here again,” says another young man. Chapman exchanges barbs with a man carrying a skateboard as the groups walk slowly through the park. At a certain point, a young man in sunglasses begins screaming and gesturing at Chapman, and challenging him to fight. Chapman turns around, hesitates, and swings at the man, who falls to the ground. The man with the skateboard then strikes Chapman with his board before the video ends.
According to police, officers were called to Civic Center Park at about 7:20 p.m. Monday for a report of a fight.
“Officers responded and found Chapman had gotten into an altercation with an unidentified man who struck him with a skateboard, and another male … who allegedly brandished him with a large knife,” said BPD Sgt. Andrew Frankel. Chapman and the man with the knife — a 33-year-old from Berkeley — were detained. Both were released after receiving citations at the Berkeley Jail, Frankel said. [This has been updated to clarify what took place.]
Chapman — whose listed occupation is “diver,” according to Alameda County arrest records — wrote on his Facebook page that he “had a little run-in with local thugs while shooting our April 15th Freedom Rally promo video at Civic Center park. They tried to surround us while we were leaving…Nothing a little chin check couldn’t fix!” He continued, “They called the cops like pussies. I spent most of the night in jail, racked up another charge. My boys were waiting for me when I was released. It was a great day! This is another example of left-wing thugs trying to intimidate and threaten real Americans when we try to exercise our First Amendment rights. We CANNOT let that fly.”
Chapman also was arrested in Berkeley after the March 4 pro-Trump rally on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon. Police said he beat people with a large stick. According to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office, charges have not been filed in that case. The only listed charges against Chapman in Alameda County are two misdemeanor vehicle code violations related to driving under the influence in 2009.
According to an anonymous post on the website IGD, or ItsGoingDown, “After the 4th, Chapman made the rounds on various far-Right podcasts milking his mild-celebrity. In the past weeks, not content with just sitting around and trying to cheat on his partner through dating apps, he has taken numerous photos of himself walking around Berkeley, posting flyers for the upcoming Alt-Right rally on April 15th.” IGD describes itself as “a media platform for revolutionary anarchist, anti-fascist, and autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements.”
Chapman is slated to speak in Berkeley at Saturday’s “free speech rally” at Civic Center Park, which is scheduled to begin at noon. A counter-rally organized by people on the far left will begin at 10 a.m. In early March, the last time the two sides met in the park, the protests turned bloody, police seized numerous bats and sticks, and 10 people were arrested.
The planned pro-Trump, pro-patriot rally is sponsored by the Liberty Revival Alliance, a new group created by Rich Black, who organized the March 4 protest. The group said in a video it is seeking to put on a peaceful march. The rally will feature a number of speakers who are prominent because of their pro-gun, pro-nationalist, anti-immigrant views. Numerous supporters have posted videos to YouTube declaring that they will travel to Berkeley for the event. A man named Bunker from 2 Million Bikers has posted that he hopes to draw enough motorcycle riders to encircle Berkeley.
When those on the right arrive, they will be met by those on the left, many of whom have been confrontational in the past. The counter-protesters, a group of activists with different affiliations calling themselves Defend the Bay, plan to arrive at the park at 10 a.m. Berkeley Antifa is participating, as is the Antifa Noise Brigade, which wants to create loud noise, and protest with glitter and paint.
“We are going to occupy the square with music, speakers and food,” Ryan Smith, one of the lead organizers of the counter-demonstration, told Berkeleyside earlier this week. “When [the pro-Trump protesters] arrive we are going to continue to hold the space for the people of Berkeley and deny their use of it. We are expecting to do this just by mobilizing sufficient mass. If they get violent we will defend ourselves but we will not initiate violence in this demonstration.”