Eric Clanton, the college professor arrested for violently assaulting Trump supporters with a bike lock at a free speech rally in Berkeley last month, was arraigned in court on Friday, where he pleaded not guilty to multiple felonies.
The 28-year-old former Diablo Valley College professor, and alleged Antifa supporter, was charged with four counts of felony assault and with enhancements alleging that he caused grievous harm to victims. In addition, Clanton was charged with wearing a mask during the commission of a crime.
Footage of a masked anarchist believed to be Eric Clanton was captured by rally attendees before and after he donned sunglasses and bandana. No one cared about who he was until he put on the mask, so to speak. At various points, the anarchist hit people with a bicycle U-lock. The assaults mobilized Internet sleuths on 4chan to track down the identity of the masked man and tip off the police to his identity.
Since his arrest last Wednesday, Clanton has been sitting in an Oakland jail pending a $200,000 bail. According to East Bay Times, the courtroom was packed with members of the press and protesters, some of whom cried for his release. Presiding over the case, Judge Thomas Nixon threatened to clear the room if anyone livestreamed the proceedings on the Internet.
Clanton’s lawyer, Dan Siegel, claims that both he and his client had received threats after the case went to court. Siegel also informed the judge that he believed he was being followed.
Police acknowledged that footage of the incident helped them identify Eric Clanton as the suspect behind the attacks during the April 15 demonstration. Police confirmed that it was indeed Clanton in the videos, seen hitting people with the bike lock. Police stated that three of the victims sustained “significant injuries.”
The seriousness of the assaults prompted Berkeley Police Department to put its homicide detectives on the case, who couldn’t find him at his listed address in San Leandro. Further investigation led them to an Oakland address, where they arrested Clanton. Police also recovered evidence tying the college professor to Antifa and anarchist political action groups, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Per the East Bay Times, court documents reveal that Clanton was previously arrested at a 2014 protest on Highway 24 in Oakland. Diablo Valley College’s staff listing shows that Clanton worked at the school since 2015 teaching introductory philosophy with a background in ethics, critical thinking, and politics. School officials told the paper that he was not employed at the college this semester.