Posted on December 10, 2021

Prosecutors Make First Move to Break Up Antifa Cell as 11 Activists Charged With Violence

Andy Ngo, Newsweek, December 9, 2021

For the first time in the U.S., prosecutors are attempting to break up a network of alleged violent antifa cells.

This week, the San Diego County District Attorney’s office charged 11 alleged antifa members with felony conspiracy and felony assault charges, among other crimes, in a riot case where supporters of former President Donald Trump and random bystanders were beaten in Pacific Beach, California in January. Eight suspects were arraigned this week; they have all pleaded not guilty.

Eight suspects were issued search and arrest warrants last week in San Diego County and Los Angeles County. Police recovered three guns, ammunition, body armor and drugs. The large operation to arrest the suspects involved mutual support from multiple law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Escondido. The case is sending shockwaves through far-left networks in Southern California, who have been raising funds for their comrades.

The criminal complaint accuses Alexander Akridge-Jacobs, 31, Jesse Merel Cannon, 31, Joseph Austin Gaskins, 21, Brian Lightfoot, 25, Christian Martinez, 23, Luis Francisco Mora, 30, Bryan Rivera, 21, Faraz Martin Talab, 27, Jeremy Jonathan White, 39, Samuel Howard Ogden, 24, and Erich Louis Yach, 37, of conspiring together and with other unidentified persons to riot and commit violent criminal acts in January.

“The Defendants are alleged to be affiliated with ANTIFA and are organized into two groups, one originating from Los Angeles and the other from San Diego,” reads the charging document. “ANTIFA is known to use force, fear, and violence to further their own interests and to suppress the interests of others. This tactic is referred to as ‘Direct Action’ and is known to mean acts of violence such as assault, battery, assault with deadly weapons, arson, and vandalism. The alleged object of this conspiracy was to incite and participate in a riot using direct action tactics.”

On January 9, around a hundred Trump supporters gathered on the Pacific Beach pier in San Diego to protest Trump’s election loss. They were met with an equally sized group of masked people dressed in black uniforms and riot gear. They carried shields, banners and signs displaying the antifa logo.

The complaint’s allegations of assault causing bodily injuries by the suspects match what was captured on videos at the time. Videos show bat-carrying antifa members chasing fleeing participants of the Trump rally and pepper spraying them in the face before punching and kicking them. Bystanders on the beach were also victimized. One video captured a man walking his dog on the boardwalk being assaulted with pepper spray from a person in black next to an antifa flag. Jeremy White was charged with animal cruelty over the incident.

Police eventually declared an unlawful assembly after officers were hit with rocks, bottles and pepper spray by the rioters.

San Diego Police said in a statement last week that 16 people were victimized in eight separate attacks at the riot.

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office released a press statement saying that the antifa rioters also targeted minors and a journalist.

“The Antifa-affiliated group surrounded several minors who they believed to be attending the Patriot March, sprayed them with mace and chased them up the boardwalk, shoving one of the minors to the ground. The minor was surrounded and beaten resulting in the minor victim being taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion,” the statement read.

John Cocozza, a 43-year-old local photographer who was there to cover the protest, says he was assaulted multiple times at the riot by people from the antifa side.

“Police were standing 40 feet away and did nothing,” Cocozza says. He suffered deep bruising on his back after a rioter from the antifa side hit him with a long wooden stick. “That guy was aiming for my head. I saw him coming and I turned at the last moment.”

According to the criminal complaint, “Antifa supporters” had posted on social media calling for a counter direct action against the Trump rally days before. During the riots in 2020 and 2021 in West Coast coast cities like Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles, violent direct actions by antifa and leftist groups were announced and promoted on Twitter.


The complaint details how the suspects worked in a coordinated fashion to blind victims with pepper spray before striking them with potentially deadly weapons, punches, kicks and projectiles.


“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,” reads a press release from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. San Diego mayor Todd Gloria originally responded to the riot by blaming racism and fascism.

Antifa groups on Twitter have been fundraising “emergency bail” for their comrades using various CashApp and Venmo accounts. {snip}