Berkeley teacher Yvette Felarca and other supporters of By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, attended a Jan. 22 hearing in Sacramento, affirming that they have to stand trial in an assault case connected to a neo-Nazi rally and protest in 2016.
At the hearing, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie maintained the felony assault and misdemeanor charges against Felarca and co-defendant Michael Williams. However, the judge agreed to reduce co-defendant Porfirio Paz’s felony assault to a misdemeanor assault based on his young age and clean record at the time of the protest.
“We are committed to standing up and fighting this out, because we know that we’re fighting not only for ourselves, but for generations to come,” Felarca said in a BAMN statement.
The hearing was a continuation of the pretrial evidentiary hearing held Dec. 6. Felarca, who teaches part time at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, was charged with assault after a video emerged allegedly showing the activist approaching and hitting a demonstrator at a neo-Nazi rally on June 26, 2016. Members of the neo-Nazi Traditional Worker Party, or TWP, and Golden State Skinheads took out permits to hold a demonstration. A group of anti-fascist protesters, among them Felarca, Paz and Williams, confronted them at the California State Capitol, and violence erupted.
One of the video clips allegedly shows Felarca and another demonstrator approaching a member of the TWP, identified by prosecutors as Nigel Walker. After Felarca appears to push and punch Walker, Walker is pulled to the ground and attacked by several people until a police officer intervenes.
The arraignment for Felarca, Williams and Paz is set to take place Feb. 13 at the Sacramento Courthouse.
The defendants’ attorney Ronald Cruz said in an email that they plan to make motions to dismiss charges based on “discriminatory prosecution” and the lack of evidence.