Were Proud Boys behind bloody LA vaccine brawl? One man stabbed and KPCC reporter attacked

An anti-vaccine protest broke out outside the Los Angeles City Hall and turned violent. Proud Boys members were identified in the viral videos


                            Were Proud Boys behind bloody LA vaccine brawl? One man stabbed and KPCC reporter attacked
Stills from viral videos of the anti-vaccine protest outside the Los Angeles City Hall (Twitter/@andrewkimmel)

A man was stabbed and a reporter assaulted on the south lawn outside the Los Angeles City Hall after a fight broke out at an anti-vaccine protest, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, news outlets reported on Saturday, August 14.

The protest is reminiscent of the one which took place in January this year when a vaccination center at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles was forced to shut down temporarily after it was stormed by anti-vaxxers. The group of people, who deny the seriousness of Covid-19, or even its existence, shouted "you are lab rats" at elderly patients who were queuing to get their vaccines at the Elysian Park stadium park on January 30.

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Around 2 pm, a crowd of several hundred individuals converged on City Hall, many waving American flags and holding banners asking for "medical freedom." Before the confrontation, a small group of counterprotesters had gathered on 1st Street outside the former headquarters of the Los Angeles Times.

Soon after 2.30 pm, a brawl broke out on the corner of 1st and Spring streets, when anti-vaccine protestors dressed in all black and anti-vaccine demonstrators dressed in American flag clothing and Trump paraphernalia exchanged blows and tossed items at each other. The cause of the brawl was not immediately obvious, but each side swiftly accused the other, the Los Angeles Times reported.



 

 

One individual, who the anti-mask protestors believe was a member of their demonstration, was spotted slumped and bleeding in the junction. The individual had been stabbed, police claimed, and paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital. Counterprotesters were spotted spraying mace while members of the anti-vaccine rally yelled death threats throughout the altercation. "Unmask them all", shouted one elderly guy as he grabbed at a woman's face.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, Capt Stacy Spell, said officers were keeping an eye on the demonstration. Some of the participants are identified in video footage posted on Twitter as members of the far-right Proud Boys. Punches are thrown in the footage, and one man is injured as a result of the brawl, according to KTLA.

Internet sleuths tweeted about what they saw. "Today's violent Proud Boys riot is taking place 30 feet from @LAPDHQ headquarters. This is the exact same location where the SAME Proud Boys committed multiple violent hate crimes on January 6th. We desperately need a Federal @CivilRights investigation of LAPD.," said one. In another tweet, they wrote: "Adam Kiefer, the Proud Boy seen in the videos today attacking reporters, is good friends with several @LAPDHQ cops. Here is Kiefer and his fellow Proud Boys laughing with their LAPD buddies at the violent protests in Sunland-Tujunga in August 2020." TV producer Andrew Kimmel posted a harrowing video of the protest with the caption: "Anti-vaxx” / Proud Boys rally in Los Angeles off to a great start."



 



 



 

 

According to the Los Angeles Times, KPCC reporter Frank Stolze was also attacked and reported it to the police. Anti-mask demonstrators screamed at him as he walked out of the park near City Hall. One of the men was spotted kicking him. Stoltze later informed a cop that he was attacked while attempting to conduct an interview. A police report was taken, according to Spell.

"Something happened to me today that’s never happened in 30 yrs of reporting. In LA. ⁦@LAist⁩ I was shoved, kicked and my eyeglasses were ripped off of my face by a group of guys at a protest - outside City Hall during an anti-vax Recall ⁦@GavinNewsom⁩ Pro Trump rally," Stolze said in a tweet. "I'm mad but fine," added Stolze in another tweet.



 



 

 

In a tweet, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez also condemned the violence. “These aren’t ‘patriots’. Not wearing a mask and being anti-vax isn’t patriotism - it’s stupidity,” she said. “We have to be able to have differences of opinions without resorting to violence.”

The demonstration was advertised as a protest against Covid-19 vaccination requirements and so-called vaccine passports. The protestors also stated that they were not in favor of wearing masks. People held placards saying things like "Unmasked, Unmuzzled, Unvaccinated, 100% Unafraid, Jesus has me", "Jesus is my vaccine" and "Make Politicians Afraid Again". A car sticker read "Trumpinator - I'll be Back". No arrests have been made so far but an investigation is ongoing, the police department said. 

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