BUSD teacher, activist Yvette Felarca arrested Tuesday

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Ariel Hayat/File

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The piece has been updated to reflect Yvette Felarca’s arraignment date.

Berkeley Unified School District teacher and activist Yvette Felarca was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles for her involvement in a face-off between white nationalist groups and counter-protesters last June in Sacramento.

She was arrested on charges of assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, participating in a riot and inciting a riot, according to a press release by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

Felarca’s arraignment date has been set for August 10 at the Sacramento County Main Jail.

Shanta Driver, Felarca’s attorney and the national director of activist group By Any Means Necessary — a group for which Felarca is an organizer — has since denied that Felarca incited a riot or committed assault, alleging that charges pressed against Felarca are because of her public opposition to President Donald Trump, as reported by the Washington Post.

Three other individuals — William Planer, Porfirio Paz and Michael Williams — have also been arrested in connection with the rally despite arrest warrants for 101 individuals being submitted for consideration, according to the press release.

A majority of the charges submitted, which included 85 counts of unlawful assembly, 55 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully assemble and 32 counts related to the possession of illegal signs and banners, did not qualify for the district attorney’s filing guidelines. In addition, many individuals that engaged in explicit violent conducts could not be identified for an arrest.

“In several … cases, there was clear evidence of felonious conduct but the identity of the perpetrators could not be established,” the press release states. “Unfortunately, included in this category were all of the stabbings and the attack on a local television reporter.”

On June 26, 2016, the Traditionalist Workers Party held a rally at the capitol, which was met by counter-protesters who unlawfully assembled in an attempt to stop the rally. Felarca had been present at the counter-protest as one of the organizers.

Felarca was seen in a video attacking a self-proclaimed white nationalist during a pro-Trump rally.

The confrontation resulted in violence with several participants being hospitalized.

Subsequently, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School received email threats to fire Felarca and petitions circulated. The petitions, which collected more than 500 signatures, alleged that Felarca was unfit to teach students in light of her actions at the demonstration.

In the midst of abundant community criticism, BUSD placed Felarca on administrative leave in September. In response, Felarca filed a lawsuit against the school district in October stating that BUSD violated her First Amendment rights by placing her on leave on the basis of her involvement with a political group.

Community members, including students and teachers, protested her leave, holding signs that read “Defend Yvette Felarca” and “Bring Ms. Felarca back now,” and demanded a reinstatement. After six weeks of administrative leave, Felarca returned to the classroom in November.

Christine Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Christine Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @christinejlee17.