Organizer of protests against police brutality charged after car hit counter-protesters

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The organizer of a Southern California anti-racism rally was charged with attempted murder on Tuesday for driving his car through a crowd of counter-protesters.Orange County prosecutors said Tatiana Turner deliberately entered a crowd of supporters of US President Donald Trump with the intention of killing a woman, whose head she knocked back, and seriously injured another man who was ‘had a broken leg.

A defense lawyer said Turner tried unsuccessfully to get help from MPs after his group protesting police brutality in Yorba Linda on Saturday was overwhelmed by hostile counter-protesters.

Turner feared for her life when she got into her car surrounded by Trump supporters and tried to get away from the crowd and had no intention of hitting anyone, attorney Ludlow Creary II said .

Turner, 40, made her first remote court appearance from the prison and was sentenced to $ 1 million bail.

A man is injured in a library parking lot after being hit by a car during the protest. (Brian Rokos / The Orange County Register via The Associated Press)

The conflict led to fighting

Turner, who has a criminal record for drug dealing and domestic violence, is also charged with six counts of assault with a lethal weapon, including one count of causing serious bodily harm, chaos and two counts of use of pepper spray by a criminal. .

The confrontation came on a sunny afternoon when Turner and the Coalition of Urban Organizers planned a march against police brutality and systemic racism outside the Yorba Linda Library, about 31 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

A group of counter-demonstrators, many of whom were holding American flags and wearing Trump’s costume, clashed with Turner’s small group. The conflict flared up and led to fighting, authorities said.

Turner, who had seen counter-protesters with guns, called 911 for help and “got the runaround,” then called in to deputies patrolling the growing crowd, Creary said.

“The sheriff’s assistants on site did nothing and the crowd of Trump supporters grew,” he said. “It was essentially a hostile environment. ”

The sheriff’s department said it would look into the allegations. “I cannot speak to the validity of these claims,” spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.

Eventually, MPs declared a meeting illegal and told the groups, estimated at 250, to leave.

Time of video capture

One video showed Turner getting into his small white sedan while surrounded mainly by a group of people the sheriff’s office described as “Trump supporters.” A voice can be heard saying, “Good luck getting out of here. ”

Three seconds later, the car drove through the crowd, pushing several people, including one holding a sign saying “Black Behavior Matters” and a man wearing a Trump hat and an American flag.

As the car stopped for a second, the crowd moved to both sides. Turner then accelerated and a man smashed her rear window as she walked away. The car swerved upward at one point when it rolled over someone and continued to move forward.

Anthony Bryson, who helped Turner organize the march, said the charges and the bail amount were ridiculous.

The group, which has expressed sympathy for those injured, scheduled a press conference on Wednesday to highlight the inconsistency with accusations other people have faced that have pushed protesters in recent months.

On Thursday, a man driving a pickup truck who hit a woman protesting police brutality in Hollywood was not arrested as Los Angeles Police investigated the hit-and-run.

Police said it appeared the driver was surrounded by a crowd of protesters who hit his vehicle with sticks and attempted to open the driver’s door as they passed. He ran into a female protester as he was fleeing and she was hospitalized.

Jody Armor, a professor of criminal law at the University of Southern California, said the different approach taken by law enforcement in the two counties could suggest different treatment for two people who feared for their safety.

“What you have are bookend cases to compare to where two alleged perpetrators can each use some sort of self-defense or compulsion as an excuse for what they’ve done,” Armor said. “It appears the officers are giving more deference to the van driver’s claim and less to her. “

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