OC Weekly compiles the Year in Hate: 2017

 

The following article is one take on the past year, through the eyes of the staff of the OC Weekly.

The Year In Hate: Saying Goodbye to 2017

| December 28, 2017

JANUARY
On Jan. 5, the first day of the 2017-18 Legislative Session in Sacramento, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra introduces Assembly Bill 39, which would establish the California Hate Crimes Registry. Listing every hate crime and criminal who perpetrates one for public inspection is necessary, the San Fernando Valley Democrat explains, because “we have witnessed an alarming spike in hate crimes in the days and weeks following the presidential election and a double-digit increase in hate crimes reported to California law enforcement in 2015.” The bill comes a month after an “alarming spike in hate crimes” in Orange County prompted the OC Human Relations Commission to launch the #HateFreeOC campaign. . . . We report on Jan. 16—Martin Luther King Jr. Day—that the Laguna Beach Police Department and Laguna Beach Unified School District confirm they are investigating a suspected hate crime that happened over the winter break. Five boys who attend Laguna Beach High School are accused of verbally taunting a 17-year-old classmate who was born in Africa as they threw watermelon at his home. . . . At a Jan. 21 rally in downtown Santa Ana, Muslim women hand out 200 hijabs, with the message that the demonstration is “not a moment,” but “a movement.” . . . The January issue of Orange County Lawyer comes out with a column by incoming Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) President Michael Baroni, who in his piece bashes immigrants, a supposed “war on cops” and apocryphal anti-American demonstrations. The day after publication, the OCBA board of directors issues an apology for Baroni’s screed. But that does not stop protesters from converging outside the association’s Jan. 26 Judges Night & Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach. Some lawyers inside leave when they first learn about Baroni’s column, and as he is being installed, dozens stand up and walk out while others unfurl a banner reading, “We Stand with ALL Immigrant Communities.” Baroni’s only acknowledgement of the controversy during his acceptance speech is when he whines that his crowning ceremony is not a “forum.”

FEBRUARY
In solidarity with World Hijab Day, more than 520 people attend an I Stand With Hijabs (a.k.a. #IStandWithHijabs) event Feb. 1 at the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove. . . . Raymond Herrera, a 60-year-old Mexican-American, Victorville resident and—you’re about to read this right—Minuteman Project activist, frequently haunted Huntington Beach during the days of Barbara Coe, the late, not-great immigrant-hate spreader who resided there. Herrera is back on Feb. 20 to counterprotest a rally against Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and call a U.S.-born Weekly staff writer an “illegal-alien reporter.” The next day, he goes to a Huntington Beach Police Department town hall to accuse Police Chief Robert Handy of being a traitor for failing to deport Mexicans. The day after that, Herrera goes before the Huntington Beach City Council to accuse it and Handy of creating a sanctuary city, something they had not done before or since. Herrera also accuses Councilman Erik Peterson of being nice to the Oak View barrio. . . . The Merage Jewish Community Center and Tarbut V’Torah school in Irvine are evacuated by police on Feb. 27 after someone calls in a bomb threat. About 1,000 people exit safely and without injury, and a search of the premises by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s (OCSD) bomb-sniffing dogs turns up nothing suspicious. The local JCC is among several around the country receiving bomb threats within days of one another. . . . On Feb. 28, Newsweek publishes “Golden State of Hate: Extremism’s Long History in California.” Author Gabriel Thompson connects the resurgent white supremacy of today to previous campaigns in the past, including Orange County’s role in it all, from Proposition 187 to last year’s Ku Klux Klan melee in Anaheim to the Minuteman Project of the past decade. Included is this charming tidbit: “The city of Orange, for example, only allowed children of Mexican descent to use the pool on Mondays until the late 1940s. The pool was drained on Monday nights and cleaned and refilled on Tuesdays to protect white children from contamination.”

MARCH
Two women, including one wearing a hijab, leave a Target store in Irvine around 8 p.m. on March 1 when a silver Toyota Camry pulls up alongside them and the driver yells religious slurs. Moments later, after the women drive away from the store, they hear clanking noises from coins being thrown out the driver-side window of the same Camry. One passenger is struck but not injured, and both get a partial plate number. . . . A suspended Orange Coast College student who was also the subject of a restraining order obtained by the Coast Community College District is arrested March 13 for allegedly slashing the tires of two Campus Safety vehicles and carving a swastika and “fuck the nigger” into the hood of one unit. Robert McDougal, 21, of Costa Mesa, is released on bail after being booked for suspected vandalism and hate crime charges. He’d been arrested twice before on campus for alleged battery on a peace officer and a college employee, according to Campus Safety officials. McDougal, whose nickname for himself is “McDeplorable,” frequently uses social media to promote Trump, white nationalism, the alt-right movement and anti-Semitism. . . . Two OC Weekly photographers and an intern are assaulted while covering #MAGAmarch, a March 26 pro-Trump rally at Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach. While the mainstream-media reports erroneously make victims out of Trump supporters, who far outnumber the assembled media and counterprotesters combined, white supremacists worldwide hail the beat-down of the press and people of color as a huge victory. . . . Jennifer Sterling, who co-organized #MAGAmarch and twice helped Weekly intern Frank John Tristan from further harm by pro-Trump goons, goes on KFI-AM 640’s The John and Ken Show on March 27 to falsely claim thugs from the left stirred up the most shit.

APRIL
Orange County’s Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, who was arrested in December 2016 for allegedly stabbing and beating a man at a North Carolina Klan gathering, is convicted April 7 for assault with a deadly weapon for a 2015 attack on a homeless man in Orange. William Ernest Hagen, who also goes by “Billy Quigg” and “William Quigg,” was previously convicted in 1988 for assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and attempted robbery in Orange County. Readers may recall the California Grand Dragon West Coast King Kleagle of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was roughed up by counterprotesters during the February 2016 Klan rally in Anaheim, where Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, intervened to save the Orange resident from further harm. . . . An African-American woman files a lawsuit against Albertsons in Orange County Superior Court on April 10 because, she claims, a store clerk in Irvine assumed she was going to pay with food stamps. Deidre Harris, 42, grew up in Huntington Beach, works as a fashion brand consultant and has lived in Irvine for 22 years. . . . Newport Beach Harbor Commission Chairman Paul Blank serves controversial City Councilman Scott Peotter with recall papers at the April 11 City Council meeting. Blank, who resides within Peotter’s Corona del Mar district, accuses the councilman of failing to address the needs of constituents. In 2015, Peotter sent out a newsletter to constituents stating that gays stole rainbow symbology from God, earning condemnation from his council colleagues because he used the city seal on the mailer. Peotter was unapologetic, claiming he was the victim of political correctness. . . . During a violent face-off between antifa and alt-right supporters in Berkeley on April 15, 21 people are arrested. At least two of them come from Orange County: Robert Rundo, 26, of San Clemente (for battery on and resisting/obstructing a police officer), and Dennis Luke, 36, of Huntington Beach (for assault with a deadly weapon). Luke could also go by #BasedSkywalker, who was filming the crowd at last month’s #MAGAmarch in Huntington Beach.

MAY
A Cinco de Mayo promotion at Hennessey’s Tavern backfires. Anyone who can scale an inflatable “wall” outside the Dana Point watering hole wins a “green card,” which entitles the holder to one free drink for every purchased beverage of equal or lesser value. The stunt receives mucho condemnation, particularly from the Latino community, but tavern owner Paul Hennessey swears in a follow-up Facebook message that the promotion was aimed at showing “how ridiculous that it is to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a wall and even infer that Mexico foot some or the entire bill and have their citizens build it.” . . . A 25-year-old Irvine man pleads guilty May 12 to a racially charged attack on a black teen and his older brother. Christopher Qu accepts a plea deal that has him copping to assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, and a misdemeanor hate crime count. He is sentenced to 180 days in jail, which is waived because of time already served in custody, three years’ probation and placement in the custody of the Public Guardian’s Office to receive mental-health treatment. The teen was waiting for his brother to pick him up outside Irvine High School on March 30, 2016, when Qu approached while holding a pipe, yelled racial slurs and made threatening gestures with his weapon. That’s about when the boy’s 24-year-old brother rolled up, intervened and was head butted by Qu, who also slammed the pipe against the man’s arm several times. The victim suffered bruises and a broken nose. . . . Two anti-LGBT holy rollers arrive on the corner of Main and 10th Street in Santa Ana around 11:35 a.m. May 30 to berate Orange County School of the Arts students on their Tuesday lunch break. One man holds a sign reading, “Repent! Turn from your sin to Jesus,” while another blares, “Homos will go to hell!” on a bull horn. But the youth aren’t having it as they exercise their freedom-of-speech rights to the demonstrators, who are soon sorely outnumbered and surrounded. “Gays okay!” chant the students before a school bell rings, they return to class, and the Christian bigots are left alone with no one to harass.

JUNE
Buzzfeed News on June 6 reports that a white middle-schooler told a black classmate in Brea that with Trump’s presidential victory, she must return to Africa. Asked by the Weekly for more details, Buzzfeed criminal-justice reporter Albert Samaha shares the original tip: “My daughter, a 13-year-old we adopted from Mozambique, was told by her 8th-grade classmate: ‘Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa—where you belong.’ We, as her parents, have spoken with the school authorities, as well as members of the school board, and received a supportive response. We hope eventually to meet with the family of the boy who said this.” . . . Iraqi-American Shi’ite Imam Moustafa al-Qazwini of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County (IECOC) in Costa Mesa delivers a June 23 sermon titled “Islamic Shari’ah Means Tolerance and Goodness to Others.” It sounds benign enough, but al-Qazwini testifies that ISIS is a product of Israeli intelligence. That results in a social-media storm that produced an IECOC statement in which al-Qazwini says he based his information on what he had received from “government and military sources” during a 2014 visit to Iraq, adding that his comments should not be viewed as criticism of “adherents of the Jewish faith.” . . . Jeff LeTourneau, a legendary gay activist and Democratic Party of Orange County North OC vice chairman, yells at gay Republicans outside a Fullerton Wal-Mart because he believes they are misinforming potential voters about the campaign to recall state Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). Video of the clash goes viral, conservative media go wild, and Orange County GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker on June 27 demands that LeTourneau step down. LeTourneau fires back, “As you are the chairman of the OC Republican Party, a party that has waged a decades-long vicious attack on the OC LGBTQ community at virtually every level, I suggest that you get your own house in order before interfering in the affairs of the Democratic Party.”

JULY
In a July 8 Los Angeles Daily News interview, LA Chargers nose tackle Brandon Mebane alleges he and his black teammates are discriminated against in Orange County. The NFL team’s offices are in Costa Mesa, and the Chargers held preseason practices at UC Irvine. Mebane tells reporter Ryan Kartje that he and other teammates faced housing discrimination in Irvine and Newport Beach, even after offering to put down advance rents of up to a year. “But you can’t tell a person they can’t come in your neighborhood because they’re black; that’s against the law,” Mebane says. “They don’t actually say those types of things. But they’ll point out things. . . .The neighborhood was brand-new. There were no black families there.” The veteran added that he and his wife were not-so-subtly followed by a security guard at a Louis Vutton store. “People tell me it’s not true,” Mebane concludes, “but they don’t understand what it’s like to be black in America. The only way we can move on and hear each other is by talking about this.” . . . Actor James Woods uses Twitter on July 9 to say of two parents who took their gender-creative child to OC Pride in Santa Ana: “This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage.” Woods includes a link to a photo of the child pulled from a previous tweet by the boy’s mother, Lori Duron, the author of the 2013 book Raising My Rainbow. . . . Attorney General Jeff Sessions catches heat for speaking at the private, closed-door Summit On Religious Liberty that the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) holds at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel on July 11. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says the ADF “specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage, and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally.” The ADF responds by framing the SPLC as “ultra-partisan.” . . . Brandon Ricardo Pascual is booked at the Irvine Police Department on July 26 following a months-long investigation that concludes the 35-year-old committed the hate crime against the two women outside a Target store on March 1. The partial plate number the women jotted down helped to uncover Pascual’s identity, police say.

AUGUST
The Republican Party of Orange County bars alt-right activist Juan Cadavid (a.k.a. Johnny Benitez) from joining former Villa Park city councilwoman and GOP Central Committee member Deborah Pauly at an informational table set up Aug. 4 at the OC Fair. This is thanks to a video OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker deems anti-Semitic because Cadavid speaks of “Jewish problems” and “organized groups of Jews” showing up to counterprotest his alt-right events. Pauly chastises the OC GOP “for shutting down free speech,” and Cadavid live streams that “Fred Whitaker is a GOP cuckservative. Fred Whitaker is essentially what you get if you find a weasel and cut off its balls. He’s a worthless human being; he’s a blight on the conservative and right-wing political body.” Cadavid also calls out Whitaker for supporting Israel and the GOP for being a “disgusting party” that “is dead and needs to die.” . . . Representative Dana Rohrabacher on Aug. 7 retweets a notorious white nationalist’s defense of the so-called Google Manifesto. Supreme Dark Lord, a.k.a. Vox Day, a.k.a. Theodore Robert Beale, swears he is not a white supremacist, but the writer, editor, video-game designer, blogger and alt-right activist reportedly called Barack Obama a “bad black man” and an African-American sci-fi author a “half savage” (as part of Beale’s own defense that he is not a white supremacist). He has also been credited with saying, “The answer for those who support Western civilization, regardless of sex, color or religion, is to embrace white tribalism, white separatism and especially white Christian masculine rule.” His Voxiversity—which aims to teach about war, history, religion, philosophy, immigration and male-female relations—is funded through the crowdfunding website of alt-right blogger Charles C. Johnson, who has been accused of being a Holocaust minimizer and white supremacist. . . . Rohrabacher crows about spending Aug. 17 with Julian Assange in London, where the Huntington Beach Republican claims to have received “explosive” proof from the Wikileaks founder absolving Russia from having meddled in the last U.S. presidential election. But Rohrabacher is later blasted when it is revealed the trip was arranged by the aforementioned Johnson, who is working to bring Assange to the U.S. Johnson soon after donated the maximum amount he legally could to Rohrabacher’s reelection campaign. . . . No police are present at the start of the late-afternoon Aug. 20 America First! Electric Vigil on Main Beach in Laguna Beach, but shouting TrumpBros and counterprotesters are most certainly there. As an America First! activist is speaking to the crowd around 8:40 p.m., Richard Daniel Losey swoops in and sucker-punches the dude, keeps hitting him, and later tackles him from behind. It’s all captured on video posted on YouTube. Losey, 20, of Lancaster, Ohio, is arrested after seeking a ride home at the Laguna Beach police station, where cops recognize him from the video.
SEPTEMBER
Losey pleads guilty Sept. 1 to misdemeanor battery and is sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation. . . . Tyson Theodore Mayfield, who sports a swastika tattoo on his right shoulder, approaches a stranger in a Fullerton parking lot on Sept. 4—Labor Day—and asks to borrow a lighter. When the fellow informs he has no light, Mayfield blows up, yells racial slurs at the Filipino and Turkish guy, then punches him multiple times in the face. Mayfield, 41, of Fullerton, is arrested and later charged with assault with a sentencing enhancement for a 2008 Orange County mayhem conviction. . . . In a Sept. 14 San Francisco Chronicle interview titled “The Pro-Russia, Pro-Weed, Pro-Assange GOP Congressman Who Will Be Tough to Beat,” Rohrabacher claims Democrats were behind August’s white nationalist riots in Charlottesville. Without producing any proof, Rohrabacher claims a former Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporter enlisted Civil War re-enactors to gather under the guise of protecting a Robert E. Lee statue. “It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation,” Rohrabacher says, and put “our president on the spot.” . . . Around 9 p.m. on Sept. 15, Andrew Alan Carruthers saunters into BluFig Hookah Lounge in Lake Forest and starts acting aggressively toward patrons, most of whom are of Persian descent. He is repeatedly asked to leave, but the Lake Forest 29-year-old keeps coming back. After Carruthers threatens to kill customers and employees, a 9-1-1 call is made. He is arrested, his booking photo exposes his “F** ISIS” T-shirt, and his Facebook page shows off his many tattoos, including the one with “Hate Boy” across his chest. . . . In the wake of a Change.org petition to rename William E. Fanning Elementary School because its namesake was outed in the 1920s as a verified member of the Ku Klux Klan, a formal request is made at the Brea Olinda Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Sept. 25.

OCTOBER
Carruthers pleads guilty Oct. 6 to felony criminal threats and misdemeanor resisting and obstructing an officer and violation of civil rights, with a sentencing enhancement of hate crime, and is sentenced to 60 days in jail. . . . Mayfield pleads guilty on Oct 19 to a misdemeanor violating a victim’s civil rights and causing a violent injury and is sentenced to a year in jail. . . . Lovers Jessica Lundquist and Tiffany Steinberg hold hands while walking on Huntington Beach Pier Oct. 15 when one takes out her cellphone to video chat and the other is approached from behind by man who violates her personal space. He informs the couple they are “unnatural” and “going to hell.” They try to get away—while still recording—and he keeps getting uglier and uglier before he tells them, “This is the Trump era, and you’re going to see a whole lot of things changing.” The couple posts the video the same night, and internet sleuths identify the man as Anthony Allan Miskulin, an outspoken Christian. The women decline to file a police complaint against the 38-year-old Irvine resident, but their video goes viral and support pours in, as so do apologies from Christians. . . . Local Proud Boys crash an Oct. 22 Benghazi rally in Laguna Beach organized by Cadavid. As counterprotesters look on, the two alt-right groups exchange angry words and glares, exposing a widening rift within the local movement. . . . A wrongful-death trial in Orange County opens Oct. 24 with the jury viewing surveillance video from inside Patsy’s Irish Pub in Laguna Niguel early one morning in September 2015, when drunk, white supremacist parolee Craig Tanber sucker-punched 22-year-old Iranian-American Shayan Mazroei, then fatally stabbed him in the heart. . . . The Committee to Recall Scott Peotter announces 11,000 signatures were turned in on Oct. 27 seeking a recall election for the Newport Beach city councilman representing Corona del Mar. Eight years ago, we reported on then-Irvine Values Coalition president Peotter supporting the ultimately successful state Assembly campaign of Don Wagner, who is now Irvine’s mayor. “You can’t relocate, rent an apartment in a new area only nine months prior to an election, and expect to understand your new community and the people you are elected to represent,” reads the Peotter recall announcement. . . . Five protesters led by a member of We the People and LA County for Trump essentially take over the Garden Grove Unified School District’s informational meeting Oct. 28 on Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The infiltrators question the legal status of parents who’d come to Clinton Elementary School and harass district employees until the meeting ends with nothing getting accomplished. . . . An Orange County civil jury awards $6 million to the parents of Mazroei on Oct. 31. They let Patsy’s Irish Pub and its security guards off the hook for any blame, finding that killer Tanber is 90 percent responsible for the wrongful death and Mazroei was 10 percent responsible. That is because the victim ignored a security guard’s warning to stay away from Tanber and his girlfriend before the attack. . . . A Halloween appearance by Milo Yiannopoulus, who arrives an hour late to Cal State Fullerton, features several fights, as white supremacists square off against riot-gear-wearing antifa. Campus police, serving as referees, make eight arrests.

NOVEMBER
Remember the January item on the Laguna Beach High School hate crime? The Laguna Beach Unified School District on Nov. 3 appeals a court ruling that allows one of the five students accused of terrorizing a black classmate to have his suspension struck from his record. The high school senior fears the suspension negatively effects his college applications. . . . A gay couple walking through a beachfront parking lot in Seal Beach the evening of Nov. 3 is approached by four men who hurl derogatory comments. The boyfriends are then threatened with harm before one in the foursome takes the cellphone of a victim trying to call police. The thief shows off the phone to his pals, walks it back to the couple and warns against calling the police again. As the pair gets in a car to leave, the man who took the phone shoves one of them into the passenger seat, slams the car door on the victim’s arm, and yells at them to hurry up and drive off. . . . Erol Kozoglu, owner of the newly opened Marash Ice Cream parlor in Santa Ana, is working his booth at the OC Halal Food Festival at the Islamic Society of Orange County mosque in Garden Grove on Nov. 5 when a local group supportive of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks up. They accuse Kozoglu of being a terrorist, loud enough that potential customers can hear. Kozoglu’s crime, in the Erdoganistas’ minds, is supporting exiled Turkish imam Fetullah Gulen, an ally-turned-rival of Erdogan. . . . We report Nov. 20 on delays in the criminal trial of Public Enemy Number One (PEN1) white supremacist gang member Tanber because, once again, the OCSD is being accused of misusing informants. This time, deputies allegedly enticed a confidential informant to supply illegal narcotics to Tanber while he was a fugitive in the murder of Mazroei. The hope was the suspect would become semi-comatose, making him easier to apprehend. Before a conviction that would likely see Tanber spending the rest of his life in prison can be won, Judge Thomas M. Goethals must first deal with the informant matter on Jan. 5.

DECEMBER
Following a Seal Beach Police Department investigation, Wade James Rutledge is arrested Dec. 3 for allegedly being the man who took a cellphone away from a gay man and slammed a car door on that victim’s boyfriend. Rutledge is charged Dec. 5 with felony assault/hate crime causing violet injury and dissuading a witness by force or threat, with a hate crime sentencing enhancement that, with a conviction, could send the 27-year-old Seal Beach resident to state prison for seven years, according to prosecutors. . . . Police make a second arrest in the incident on Dec. 10. The Orange County district attorney’s office goes on to charge Samuel Blake Wickwire, 18, of Seal Beach, with felony criminal threats, battery-hate crime causing violent injury and a sentencing enhancement for hate crime. Specifically accused of spitting on one victim, Wickwire faces up to six years in prison if convicted. . . . On the outs with others in the local alt-right movement, Cadavid shows up Dec. 10 in Laguna Beach at a lightly attended protest of the Kate Steinle verdict in San Francisco with a new slogan: “Deport Them All.” He’s also surrounded by new comrades. They come from Patriot Front, which split out of Vanguard America after a post-Charlottesville power struggle. James Fields Jr. was a member of Vanguard America when he allegedly drove his Dodge Charger over Charlottes­ville protesters, killing Heather Heyer. Cadavid is used to neo-Nazi company, as Rise Above Movement and Hammerskin followers have dotted the crowds of previous local demonstrations he organized. . . . The Laguna Beach Unified School District expunges from the record the suspension of the student from the racism and watermelon-throwing incident is still in the record; a Dec. 18 contempt hearing before Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Bauer is canceled.

Compiled by Matt Coker from the reporting of Gustavo Arellano, Mary Carreon, Coker, Jeanette Duran, R. Scott Moxley, Gabriel San Román, Cynthia Rebolledo and Frank John Tristan