Berkeley teacher and activist Yvette Felarca, who was caught on video punching a neo-Nazi demonstrator during a riot at the California State Capitol, appeared in court on Thursday to face assault charges.
Outside the courtroom, people gathered for a rally to show their support for the Berkeley schoolteacher, chanting, “What do we want? Drop the charges. When do we want it? Now.”
A FundRazr page has also been created by the United for Equality and Affirmative Action to help “Drop the Charges Against Yvette Felarca”.
In June 2016, Felarca’s group, By Any Means Necessary, protested against a white nationalist group at the state Capitol.
Felarca was caught on video yelling “Get the f*ck off our streets!” and repeatedly throwing punches at a man, who had both hands up and asked nearby police officers for help.
The man was dragged down and kicked by Felarca and others.
She was charged with one count of felony assault and two misdemeanor counts of inciting and participating in a riot, CBS San Francisco reported.
“These charges against me are false. They should be dropped,” said Felarca.
She insisted that standing up to fascism should not be a crime.
“I think anyone has the right to self-defense. I think what’s shown in that video is partial and incomplete,” said Shanta Driver, Felarca’s attorney.
Felarca was freed on bail along with fellow defendants Michael Williams and Porfirio Paz, and will all return on Oct. 4 to Sacramento Superior Court, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Driver said the charges in the case are “baseless” and “an attack against those who stand up against fascism and racism.”
But some people who have seen the video of the incident disagree.
“Crazy…travesty of justice if they drop the charges,” said Keith Campbell with Common Sense Conservative Media Group.
Felarca is set to return to teaching at the end of August at Berkeley Middle School, which legally cannot terminate her contract unless she is found guilty of a felony.