ANAHEIM, Calif., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Police are still seeking one of the protesters who reportedly attacked Klu Klux Klan members Saturday during an anti-immigration demonstration that left five people injured and led to 12 arrests.
Counter protesters who arrived on the scene around noon attacked the Klan members when they got out of their vehicles, Anaheim, Calif. Police spokesman Sgt. Daron Wyatt said. Three of the counter protesters were stabbed – one with the end of a decorative flagstaff holding a Rebel flag – one with a knife and the third with an unnamed object, CNN reports. Two other people were injured.
All those injured were male, and a man initially taken to the hospital in critical condition was later upgraded to stable condition, police said.
Several fights broke out over a city block during what Wyatt described as a KKK "walking protest" by six Klan members, none of whom were wearing traditional robes.
Chris Barker, who identified himself as the "imperial wizard" of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK said after the incident his members were holding a peaceful demonstration and acted in self-defense, ABC7 in Anaheim reports.
"If we're attacked, we will attack back," said Barker, speaking by phone from North Carolina. He did not participate in the protest.
Witness statements varied on whether police officers were present when the violence broke out.
Brian Levin, director of California State University, San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said he did not see any uniformed officers when the brawl began. He said he watched and video taped Klan members as they got out of an SUV and began unloading materials.
Five of those arrested for assault with a deadly weapon are Klansmen police believe are connected to the stabbings. Another seven people, counter protesters who allegedly attacked the KKK members, also were taken in to custody.
Five of the detained were later released, Anaheim police said.
The following were booked at the Anaheim Detention Facility, according to police:
Charles Edward Donner, 51, of San Francisco, assault with a deadly weapon, $25,000 bail
Nicole Rae Schop, 24, of Los Angeles, elder abuse, $50,000 bail
Marquis DeShawn Turner, 20, of Anaheim, assault with a deadly weapon, $25,000 bail
Randy Omarcc Felder, 25, of Lakewood, assault with a deadly weapon, $25,000 bail
Mark Anthony Liddell, 26, of Los Angeles, elder abuse, $50,000 bail
Guy Harris, 19, Transient, assault with a deadly weapon, $25,000 bail
Hugo Contreras, 38, of Hawthorne, elder abuse, $50,000 bail
Even when most of the community disagrees with particular a protest group, police cannot stop them from lawfully gathering to express their opinions, Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said in a written statement.
"Violence is not acceptable and we will arrest anybody who assaults another person or commits any other crime in our city."