By now many of you have heard and seen me in one or more differing news media versions of the news regarding the attack on me by a mob of anarchists.

Duane Roberts, a Green Party Orange county activist opposed to the Minutemen, broadcast an email to organize a coalition of protesters to oppose any attempt by the meeting’s attendees to peacefully assemble. According to several anti-Minutemen web sites, the protesters consisted of persons affiliated with the anti-Semitic website, La Voz de Aztlan; Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras (Indigenous Aliance Without Borders) and MEChA students. These anarchists will resort to criminal behavior to prevent anyone from expressing a differing point of view. A key leader of the protest is James Lafferty, a leftist lawyer who has a talk show on left wing radio KPFK-FM

At about 7:15 PM, I arrived at the location in Garden Grove where the Women’s Civic Club building is located to hear Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen, give a presentation to the public. Ready for any trouble, were scores of Garden Grove police, some dressed in riot gear and some horse mounted Sheriff Deputies.

All entrances to the parking lot were cordoned off except for the one by which I attempted to enter. As I turned right into the driveway which crossed the sidewalk, five to ten protesters jumped in front of my mini-van causing me to stop with the front of my van already in the private parking lot and the rear of my van on the parkway side of the sidewalk, at which time an additional mob of protestors shouting obsenities to me, surrounded my van beating on the windows with the butt ends of their wood sign handles and other objects (the Garden Grove PD reported that marble filled soda cans had been hurled). About ten yards ahead of my van on the private property, stood about six police officers who simply looked on with no attempt to come to my rescue. The fear that engulfed me brought to my mind Reginald Denny, who was nearly beaten to death during the Rodney King riot, while LAPD officers did nothing.

Fearing for my life, I drove forward from a stopped position to the safety of the police officers to escape the angry mob. I saw protesters scatter from in front of my car, some banging on the hood with their fists. I did not think that anyone was injured, but later news reports said that two persons were injured.

The police ordered me to shut off the engine and exit. I complied with one officer’s order to place my hands behind my back. He then grabbed my hands and led me away from the demonstration area to the entrance of the meeting (presumably, to get me away from the protesters). Another officer drove my van forward to the same area in which I was being guarded. I gave one officer permission to find my registration and insurance documentation. While waiting for the officer to evaluate the documentation, I told some news reporters of the fear that I had for my life which caused me to drive to safety.

I was then handcuffed and placed under arrest charged with assault with a deadly weapon (my car) and transported to the Garden Grove PD jail where I spent the next four hours. During my detainment, about six  protesters who were arrested, arrived requiring cell sharing. For reasons not clear to me, I was transferred from the first cell to a second and then again to a third. I could hear the open discussion by protester in other cells who had been arrested on various charges. I shared the second and third cells with protesters. I did not admit it when one of the protesters asked me if I was “the guy in the van.”

I was finally taken to an interrogation room where I freely offered my statement of the facts and then told that I would not be charged. I was released and transported (in handcuffs) to my van. I later found out that I was not charged because the police video of the event supported my statement of the facts.

I never did hear Jim Gilchrist, as I was in jail during the entire presentation.

The news media was all over the place on the facts, but one of the latest versions of the event by the L.A. Times is somewhat accurate: Click here.

Hal Netkin