Former college professor, charged with assault, alleges improper police investigation

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Eric Clanton, a former Diablo Valley Community College professor charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon at an April 15 rally in Berkeley, released a statement Aug. 16 criticizing Berkeley Police Department’s investigation tactics.

Clanton was first booked in Berkeley Jail on May 25 after being arrested in Oakland earlier that afternoon, and he was later charged with four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon. In his statement, first reported by Berkeleyside, Clanton alleged that the actions of BPD in connection with its investigation into him have legitimized “the violence and the rhetoric of the so-called alt-right.”

“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.

According to Clanton’s statement, he began being targeted April 19, 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.

Clanton further alleged in his statement that Berkeley police used these social media posts and videos to target 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.

BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats said in an email that because Clanton’s case is still going through the court process, BPD will not comment on its investigative techniques.

“Ours Officers conducted a complete and thorough investigation, which was presented to the District Attorney’s Office for charging,” Coats said in her email.

Clanton’s preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 28.

Harini Shyamsundar is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.