Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


DA announces counter-protesters charged for alleged violence at Pacific Beach March

The San Diego County District Attorney has filed felony charges against ten people in connection with the violence that broke out at a pro-Trump rally last January. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado has the reaction from a photographer who was there.

San Diego County prosecutors filed felony charges Monday against 10 people accused of taking part in "violent criminal acts" in Pacific Beach earlier this year as they tried to disrupt a march by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

The Jan. 9 clash was eventually declared an unlawful assembly by San Diego police, who announced most of the defendants were arrested last week in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

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."

Counter-protesters in Pacific Beach. Jan. 9, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Counter-protesters in Pacific Beach. Jan. 9, 2021.

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.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.