After a brutal fight broke out in Anaheim, California on Saturday between Ku Klux Klan (KKK) demonstrators and counter-protesters, one of the Klansmen is now walking free. Despite having stabbed three men during the brawl, Charles Edward Donner, 51 from San Francisco, will not be facing charges on the grounds that he acted in self defense. Four of the other Klan members who got arrested ended up walking free for the same reason.
According to US Uncut, this leaves seven who are now facing charges, six of whom were counter-protesters. One of the witnesses, however, reports the following, implying that the Klansmen were actually the instigators:
‘”All of a sudden the KKK show up and start stabbing people almost immediately.” He said the police arrived late to the scene, and that police called backup before calling an ambulance for the stabbing victims.’
The story has been reported differently in other sources. The New York Times relates the incident as follows, implying that the Klan actually were on the defensive, complying with the police report:
‘One Klan supporter, Charles Edward Donner, 51, of San Francisco, was released without charge on Sunday. The police said Mr. Donner, initially arrested on suspicion of stabbing three protesters, had acted in self-defense. One of the injured was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, but on Sunday the police said his condition had been upgraded to stable.
Initial police reports said that the injured men were stabbed with the pointed tip of a flagpole. But police officials said Sunday that the initial report was incorrect and that they believed all three victims were stabbed with a knife.’
A video of the fight was widely circulated on youtube the day following the incident. The video can be viewed here, although it must be warned that the content is very graphic. It is not safe to view at work.
The conflicting reports by the Times and Uncut, even with the footage contained in the videos, indicate that the incident will carry a great deal of controversy, with different sides having opposing interpretations of who was at fault. It is safe to say, however, that the police are clearly siding with the Klan, much to the disappointment of many who were at the scene when everything went down.
Daily KOS took a different approach. Rather than focus on whether it was the Klan or the protesters who instigated the violence, Thandisizwe Chimurenga called attention to the weapon in Donner’s possession. She posits:
‘It would be interesting to know where Donner got the knife he used to stab three people and if it was legal to carry.’
An outlier in the report is Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. Levin, who has no love for white supremacist groups, made statements implying that the Klan members really were in grave danger, indirectly giving them some grounds for self-defense by doing so.
At one point, Professor Levin claims to have saved one of their lives, pushing the Klan leader out of harm’s way before the protesters could get to him. Levin, in a move that was admittedly kind of badass, asked the leader, “How do you feel that a Jewish guy just saved your life?” Levin claims that the leader simply told him, “Thank you!”