Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville's Letson Protects Right-Wing Activist under Attack at Calif. Rally

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville's Letson Protects Right-Wing Activist under Attack at Calif. Rally

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Soergel

With his microphone still in his hand, Al Letson, a Jacksonville native who hosts a National Public Radio show, used his body as a human shield to protect a right-wing activist being beaten by protesters at a rally Sunday in Berkeley, Calif., and managed to stop the brutal attack.

"I don't care what this guy stands for, but he's a human being, you know?" Letson said in an interview Monday from California, where he is now based as host of "Reveal," an investigative radio show.

He said he didn't really have much time to think before he jumped into the fray. "I thought they were going to kill him, and I didn't want anyone to die."

Thousands of people came Sunday to downtown Berkeley to show disapproval of a planned right-wing rally called "No to Marxism in America." Rally organizers Saturday said they were canceling the event, though a few of the right-wing supporters did show up, as did about 100 left-wing anti-fascist protesters known as antifa, according to news reports.

Video footage shows Letson, who was covering the event and had his recording gear strapped to him, jumping in to protect a man being beaten with sticks and kicked by protesters clad in black, the uniform of the antifa. Letson said he was hit a few times but not injured.

Letson said most of the rally was peaceful, but he found himself in one of a handful of violent outbreaks as he was filming Joey Gibson, the organizer of the "No to Marxism" rally. The man who was later beaten seemed to be with Gibson and was verbally egging on the counter-protesters, he said.

Letson saw five people attack the man, who fell to the ground, and then saw about 20 more people coming up behind them. The group seemed to include both antifa members and others, Letson said; in the confusion, it was hard to tell.

That's when he acted, running over and putting himself between the victim and the attackers.

Video shows others running in to help stop the attack as Letson shielded the beaten man, who left after tear gas was fired into the area to break up the fight. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.