A black activist who has accused police in California of destroying evidence after he was stabbed when caught in the middle of a clash between white nationalists and anti-fascists, has spoken to RT about his experience.
Cedric O’Bannon has been covering violent events as an anti-racism activist and independent journalist. In 2016, he was present at one of the gatherings that turned violent, when Nazi groups and the Ku Klux Klan clashed with anti-fascists in Sacramento, California.
“It was like a prison melee. The police let the two sides go into battle and I was stuck in the middle,” O’Bannon told RT. He went on to state that he was shooting the event with a GoPro, when one of the Nazis knocked the camera off his monopod.
“When I went to pick it up from the ground I was stabbed in the side,” he said. “No one came to help me after I was stabbed and I just continued to shoot,” he said, adding that he believed his footage could be used as evidence to prove who stabbed him.
However, he says police made sure that wouldn’t happen. “I was hospitalized and police came into my room, stole all my belongings, and erased my video footage,” O’Bannon claimed. “They left a note when they took my footage and then two days later they brought another note that said they had a search warrant [for my property]…when I was able to get my property back a few weeks later, my video was destroyed.”
O’Bannon explained that this means any evidence of who stabbed him is gone, along with footage from the entire day. Although he says he was peacefully covering the event, he claims police in Sacramento were intent on painting him as “some kind of black extremist,” stating that they “surveilled my Facebook and posted pictures of me giving an arm raised salute” as a symbol of black power.
Police claim O’Bannon was fueling the unrest and was promoting extremist views, and sought to charge him with conspiracy, rioting, assault, and unlawful assembly. The activist believes those charges didn’t come to fruition because “even though they [Sacramento Police] wanted to press charges against me, every angle of video showed I was non-violent.”
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