Five men will face trial Wednesday, all of them charged with misdemeanor assault in the wake of the “March 4 Trump” rally in 2017.
Dubbed the “Berkeley 5” by local activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, Taylor Fuller, Scott Hedrick, Nathan Perry, Jeff Armstrong and Dustin Sawtelle are being brought to trial on charges of attacking Trump supporter Daniel Quillinan on March 4, 2017.
One of the defendants, Perry, is also being charged with possession of a leaded cane. BAMN is advocating for all charges to be dropped.
The trial will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, and it will be preceded by a picket protest and press conference at 8 a.m., according to a press release from BAMN.
“They came to the protest … united in their opposition to Trump and the physical danger that his most loyal and violent neo-fascist supporters present to the Bay Area and particular to its black, Latina/o, Asian, Arab, and immigrant communities,” said Ronald Cruz, a lawyer for the defendants, in an email.
BAMN said in the press release that it stands behind the five men because of their attempts to stop “fascist attacks,” calling them local heroes. BAMN also alleged that Quillinan is a dangerous neofascist, alleging in the press release that he “violently attacked protesters and sustained injuries as a result.”
The five men allegedly punched and kicked Quillinan while paramedics were stitching him up, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Quillinan was at the 2017 protest clad in a red motorcycle helmet, shin pads and an Augusto Pinochet T-shirt. He later posted photos of himself on Facebook with stitches on the back of his head.
Cruz said in an email that the defendants, who pleaded not guilty, were unavailable for comment. The defendants are not part of any organization, according to Cruz.
“Quillinan himself and the Berkeley police and firefighters present inconsistent and preposterous claims,” Cruz said in an email.
Cruz will represent the five men in court along with attorney Shanta Driver.
“If we don’t take a stand now, fascism’s poison will spread until there is no cure. We have an obligation to protect our families and our communities,” Perry said in the press release.
BAMN is calling on the community for support, encouraging people to “pack the courtroom,” since the trial will be public.
The press release released by BAMN also alleged that the city of Berkeley, Berkeley Police Department and Berkeley Fire Department were trying to “make an example of” the five men in order to stop the Bay Area from resisting the Trump administration.
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Teresa Drenick said the office cannot comment on active court cases.