White Separatists' Alleged Attackers Enter Their Pleas
|Know your anarchists!|
Two alleged "black bloc" anarchists pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to felony charges stemming from a fight Saturday with the white separatist group Bay Area National Anarchists (BANA) after an immigration reform rally at Civic Center Plaza. Bail was set at $75,000 each for Donnell Allen, 42, and Kelsey Musgrove, 19, and the date for the preliminary hearing will be set Thursday.
A quick primer: Bay Area National Anarchists is a two-year-old self-proclaimed white separatist group, which opposes immigration and believes in living in a white "tribe." Other anarchists claim BANA aren't even anarchists, give anarchism a bad name, and are mad as hell that the a TV news report mislabeled BANA as simply "Bay Area Anarchists" on Saturday. Meanwhile black bloc is a tactic of a radical subset of anarchists predisposed to wearing black bandannas, using violence and vandalism at protests, and chucking batteries at police officers, a police source said.
Anarchists in black garb and other supporters of the two defendants filled three rows in the courtroom this morning, exchanging smiles and sympathetic looks with the defendants filing into the courtroom in orange jumpsuits. Allen, a 42-year-old black City College student and part-time employee at the Noe Valley Farmers Market, appeared calm. He's been arrested at protests before, though the charges from prior incidents were dropped, his defense attorney, Jonah Chew said. Allen is accused of an attempted robbery of a backpack, an assault with force to cause great bodily injury against BANA founder Andrew Yeoman, and assault with a deadly weapon -- using, yes, a battery. His attorney alleged that a BANA member called him a "negro jackass" during the fight.
|Black Bloc anarchists, 2005|
This was Musgrove's first brush with the law, according to her attorney, John Hamasaki, who says she volunteers at soup kitchens and works for a painting company. The petite, white 19-year-old from Pittsburgh, Penn., with short hair and a baby face, broke into tears while waiting for her appearance, wiping them away with her the sleeves of the sweatshirt pulled down over her wrists. Musgrove faces the robbery and assault charge along with Allen, as well as three more counts of assault via kicking and punching, mace, and -- executing a move seemingly plucked from Super Mario Brothers -- pushing herself up on the shoulders of two of her allies to "stomp" on the head of a BANA member lying on the ground.
According to the police report, the cops started paying attention to the group of alleged attackers back at the rally in Civic Center Plaza, when anarchist theorist Andrej Grubacic yelled at the BANA members "You racist assholes! Come over here and fight!" (Grubacic was detained and released at the scene.) The police stated they had witnessed the attackers coordinate their approach to the BANA members on cell phones as the BANA members left the rally. According to the BANA members' testimony to police, the white separatists asked the group "Are you following us?" and Allen yelled "This is our town, bitch! You aren't welcome here!"
Musgrove's defense attorney, John Hamasaki, described the fight as "mutual combat," after a verbal confrontation. He disputed the labeling of the defendants as " black bloc," saying the only thing clothing item that identified a group was a cap that read "Anti-Racist Action" -- "which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing," he said, drawing laughs from supporters.
Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang said two of the purported BANA victims were willing to testify. The preliminary hearing date will be set tomorrow. At the hearing's end, Musgrove mouthed "I love you" to someone in the gallery and walked back into custody.
Photo | The Schumin Web