BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - By Bay City News Service
Veteran activist and Berkeley school teacher Yvette Felarca has been charged with assault, participating in a riot and inciting a riot for her actions in a faceoff between white nationalist groups and counter-protestors in Sacramento last year, prosecutors said today.
Felarca, 47, who teaches at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley and is also known as Yvonne Felarca, was arrested in Southern California on Tuesday night, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office said.
Authorities said that Felarca, a longtime organizer for the activist group By Any Means Necessary was captured on video hitting a member of the Traditionalist Worker's Party, a white nationalist group that had taken out permits for a rally on the west steps of the state capitol on June 26, 2016.
Felarca and other counter-protesters blocked the rally by chasing and hitting and even stabbing members of the Traditional Worker's Party.
The Sacramento County DA's Office said the California Highway Patrol conducted an extensive investigation of the rally and counter-protest and requested arrest warrants for 101 people on 85 counts of unlawful assembly, 55 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully assemble and 32 counts related to the possession of illegal signs and banners.
Prosecutors said in a statement, "In several other cases, there was clear evidence of felonious conduct but the identity of the perpetrators could not be established. Unfortunately, included in this category were all of the stabbings and the attack on a local television reporter."
The Sacramento County DA said that at this point only Felarca and three other people have been arrested for their actions in the rally and counter-protest and there are no other outstanding warrants in connection with the incident.
The Berkeley Unified School District placed Felarca on paid administrative leave after the rally but reinstated her last fall.
School district spokesman Charles Burress said today that the district is still gathering information about Felarca's case and has no comment on it at this time. He said, at this point, Felarca is still employed
by the district.
We spoke over the phone with a fellow member of By Any Means Necessary, Hoku Jeffery, who said, "Yvette is the most known anti-Trump fighter in the movement. Now she is brought up on baseless charges as an attempte to intimidate anti fascist or anti-Trump movement. To intimidate people from coming out."
Felarca's attorney Shanta Driver told us over the phone that her client is innocent of the charges.
"She was stabbed and hit in the head. To accuse her of doing something when police could have stopped it, it's wrong," Driver said.
We interviewed Felarca in February on the violent protests at UC Berkeley when Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak. She said she had no regrets and called for more "militant" protests.
WATCH the full segment on our YouTube page here.