Local BLM protest turns violent

David Hancock, Staff Writer

After Anne*, a senior at Bear Creek, and her family finished a meal at Red Robin on Pacific Avenue, she expected to return home to a night of TV. Instead, she and her family were stopped by a crowd of protesters wearing bandanas and Black Lives Matter T-shirts who were playing loud music and shouting phrases like, “We want justice” and “F*** the police!”

The protest, which occurred around 8 p.m. on September 16, was in response to the shooting of Colby Friday, a 30-year-old African American man who was killed by Stockton police on August 16 after he allegedly refused to listen to police commands and attempted to pick up a handgun he had dropped in a foot pursuit, according to reports in “The Record.”

Anne said she and her family were confronted by the protesters as they exited the restaurant.

“One guy yells ‘what the f*** are you looking at b****’ to my mom,” Anne said. In response, Anne shouted, “Who are you calling a b****?” back at the man.

Anne said a group of the protesters then rushed from the crowd and punched, kicked, and threw water and trash at her and her family.

“Ten to 15 African American girls, about my age, dropped their bags and started running up to me screaming racial slurs and attacking me,” Anne said. “My right side of my body was held by an older protester so my whole left side of my body was getting hit. I felt hits to my head, my cheek and jaw.”

The police had blocked off the part of Pacific Avenue by the restaurant to give room for the protesters, but Anne said they were nowhere to be found when the attack started.

“I am not really sure why they didn’t respond quickly,” Anne said. “They said they didn’t see the attack right away.”

The fight was eventually broken up and the manager of Red Robin rushed the family inside, where they were questioned by police and escorted to their cars. No arrests have been made.

“We’re very interested in the case,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Ronald Freitas said. “I know the Stockton Police department has not made an arrest at this time. Right now it is a question of determining whether a crime was committed and who committed the crime.”

Anne has been questioned by detectives and attorneys, and has been shown pictures of possible assailants to confirm ID and involvement in the attack.

One alleged attacker, Xavier Rapadas, took a video during the attack and posted it onto his Facebook. He has since been questioned by police, removed the video, and changed his Facebook name, according to reports in “The Record.”

Although the right to peacefully assemble is protected by the Constitution, the group did not have permission to conduct the protest.
“These were not permitted assemblies,” Stockton Police Department spokesman Joe Silva said in reports in “The Record.” “None of the organizers obtained a permit from the city.”

In addition to not having the city’s permission to assemble, it is also unclear if the demonstration had the approval of the organization whose name they were protesting under, Black Lives Matter.

“Protesters from Oakland were invited — protesters, or anarchists, or scofflaws; exactly which is unclear, though some wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts,” Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald said in his column “Are authorities too lax on protesters.” “It’s hard to know if this was a legitimate protest tarnished by a subgroup of troublemakers or troublemakers impersonating a legitimate protest.”

Despite her experience, Anne says she does not condemn Black Lives Matter for the attack on her and her family.

“I don’t believe this had anything to do with Black Lives Matter; they did nothing to support that,” Anne said. “It looked to me that they were out looking for trouble rather than staying focused on what their cause was.”

* The student’s real name has been withheld upon request.