Update, Sept. 28: The preliminary hearing in this case has been postponed, and Eric Clanton is not set to return to court until Dec. 14, when attorneys will attempt to resolve the case during pretrial. If no resolution can be reached, a new preliminary hearing date will be set, said Clanton’s attorney, Dan Siegel, on Thursday morning.
Original story, Aug. 10: The preliminary hearing for a man charged with bashing a Donald Trump supporter on the head with a bike lock at a Berkeley rally has been postponed until Sept. 28, according to his attorney. The hearing was originally scheduled for Thursday morning.
Eric Clanton, a 28-year-old former Diablo Valley College philosophy professor, is the only person who has been charged in connection with the bloody April 15 rally so far. Users of the website 4chan identified the anti-fascist protester as the person caught on video assaulting a man with a bike lock at the protest, leading to his arrest. Berkeley police independently investigated Clanton as well.
Clanton was charged in May with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, with the special allegation of causing great bodily injury to Sean Stiles. He was also charged with wearing a mask to evade identification, a misdemeanor.
Represented by attorney Dan Siegel, Clanton pleaded not guilty to all charges in May. He was released that night from jail after paying a $100,000 bail.
Some people on the right, including several who showed up to his arraignment, are eager to see Clanton sent to prison as a sort of cautionary tale against violent counter-demonstrating. The April 15 rally was the bloodiest of several protests in Berkeley, typically organized by members of the far-right and met with far-left counter-organizing, since early 2017. The cancellation of an anti-immigration talk by provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley in February due to protests set off the chain of events — with the right fighting in the name of freedom of speech and the left fighting against what they view as hate speech.
The next rally is slated for Aug. 27 in Civic Center Park. Organized by Amber Cummings, called “Based Tranny” by her supporters on the far-right, the event is billed as a “No to Marxism in America” protest. Some attendees on the Facebook event page said they are coming from out of state, and some threatened violence.
“Where [sic] gonna kick your ass the same way we did last time. Get wrecked losers,” wrote one.
Anti-fascist organizers have also said they are gearing up to respond.