We have previously discussed Antifa and its violent anti-free speech philosophy. The latest violent clashes occurred at Berkeley where middle school teacher and Antifa leader Yvonne Felarca, 47, was arrested for battery and resisting arrest for fighting in Berkeley’s much maligned “empathy tent.” Felarca has fought the charges and called the charges a “witch hunt” to convince the court to drop the charges against her. It did not work with a California judge who refused to discuss her felony charges. What was surprising was the language used by her lawyer in both courts filings and public statements.
Felarca (whose name in public records appears as Yvonne Capistrano Felarca) was a leader and spokesperson for the anti-fascist group By Any Means Necessary. She allegedly incited and participated in the riot in 2016 between white nationalist groups and counter-protesters.
During the riot, Felarca allegedly hit Nigel Walker, a member of the Traditionalist Worker Party. She also reportedly called a man a Nazi and repeatedly punching him in the stomach while shouting “get the fuck off our streets,” according to the Daily Californian. She was herself stabbed in the melee.
She argued to the court that the California Highway Patrol was in cahoots with the Traditionalist Worker Party and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office “covered-up for and colluded with the fascists and that the charges amount to a witch-hunt against Felarca.” That unhinged language was actually put in a motion for dismissal. The motion further alleged that the CHP and District Attorney were involved in a “cover-up by interrogating and harassing” the counter-protesters who were being treated in the hospital.
Felarca’s lawyer, Shanta Driver, could face serious questions over her own public comments. After the rejection of the motion, Driver stated “I think the judge’s decision was politically motivated; I don’t think it was valid. I think that this decision is regarded by all as being really outrageous.” While I have argued for the protection of free speech rights for lawyers criticizing courts, state bar rules generally bar such personal attacks on judges that impugn their integrity. Here Driver is saying that the judge decided the issue not on the law but politics. Given the allegation in the motion of a conspiracy between police and white nationalists, the comments on the court could raise issues for the state the bar.