Former college professor takes 3-year probation plea deal in assault case

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Eric Clanton, a former Diablo Valley College professor, accepted a three-year probation deal in connection to an assault at a rally in Berkeley last year, as first reported by Berkeleyside.

According to Berkeleyside, Alameda County Superior Court records indicate that Clanton pleaded no contest on Wednesday to one misdemeanor charge, but his charges of four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon were dismissed. One charge of great bodily injury was stricken, and one charge of wearing a mask to evade identification in the commission of the crime was dismissed.

Clanton’s probation began Wednesday and will last for three years, until Aug. 8, 2021.

The original incident occurred April 15, 2017, when Clanton allegedly attacked an individual with a bike lock during a rally in Berkeley. The attack was recorded and posted on YouTube.

According to a statement made by Clanton last year, he began being targeted April 19, 2017, four days after the rally, by a swarm of viral social media posts related to him. Clanton said in his statement that his address was published, calls were made to his employers, and “countless threats of physical violence” were made against him.

“My case threatens to set a new standard in which right-wing extremists can select targets for repression and have police enthusiastically and forcefully pursue them,” Clanton alleged in his statement.

After the rally, police searched Clanton’s apartment and confiscated flags, pamphlets and other items associated with anti-fascist and anarchist movements. He was arrested after the search, according to Berkeleyside.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Clanton’s attorney Dan Siegel said medical records showed only one alleged victim sought medical treatment, for a bruise smaller than a dime.

Clanton was arrested May 25, 2017 in Oakland and was held in Berkeley Jail for four days with a bail of $100,000.

According to Berkeleyside, detectives said they “recovered U-locks, sunglasses, a glove, jeans, and facial coverings,” consistent with items worn during the April 15 assaults.

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Byron White declined to comment on the matter. Siegel could not be reached for comment as of press time.

During a Black Lives Matter protest in 2014, Clanton was arrested on suspicion of creating a “public nuisance” and “willfully and maliciously” blocking a street, sidewalk or other public place by the California Highway Patrol at Highway 24 and Interstate 980, according to Berkeleyside. Both counts are misdemeanors; however, police did not report the charges.

Clanton’s next hearing will be a progress report, according to the Alameda County inmate locator. The hearing is set for Nov. 6 at 8:30 a.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse.

Contact Margaret Black at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mblack_dc.