A grand jury has indicted 11 people for allegedly attacking demonstrators during a march held in Pacific Beach last year by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say 29 felony counts have been filed against the defendants, including conspiracy to commit a riot, use of tear gas and assault with a deadly weapon, stemming from the Jan. 9, 2021, clash at a “Patriot March,” which was ultimately declared an unlawful assembly by San Diego police.
Ten of the 11 defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday, while another defendant is set to be arraigned later this month.
According to the indictment, the defendants responded to social media posts calling for “counterprotesting” about one week prior to Jan. 9, then showed up in Pacific Beach “dressed in black clothing, and armed with weapons and protective gear.”
Police and prosecutors allege that two counter-protest groups from San Diego and Los Angeles gathered at the event and attacked people perceived to be members of the “Patriot March” group. Some specific acts of which the defendants are accused include throwing a wooden lawn chair at a woman and striking her, hitting someone with a baseball bat, hitting someone with a flagpole, and attacking people with tear gas and a stun gun..”
The indictment alleges that the defendants “are all affiliated with Antifa” and used “force, fear, and violence to further their interests and suppress the interests of others.” It continues, “The objective of this conspiracy was to incite and participate in a riot.”
Though video footage that proliferated on social media around the time of the riot captured violence also committed by members of the pro-Trump crowd, the D.A.’s Office said in a statement issued last year that “video evidence analysis shows that overwhelmingly the violence in this incident was perpetrated by the Antifa affiliates and was not a mutual fray with both sides crossing out of lawful First Amendment expression into riot and violence.”
The indictment was returned following 13 days of testimony heard by the grand jury, according to the D.A.’s Office.
Criminal charges against the defendants were originally announced last December by prosecutors.
City News Service contributed to this article.