Man stabbed in KKK attack says Trump is responsible for emboldening white nationalists
A California activist who was stabbed by a member of the Ku Klux Klan at a 2016 protest says that President-elect Donald Trump is at least partly to blame for the rise in white nationalism around the country.
In an interview with La Raza newspaper El Tecolote, Green Party member and county councilman for California’s 26th State Senate District Tom Bibiyan said, “I think now that we’ve got Trump as president, you’re seeing more of them come out and think that it’s OK…and say, ‘We’re not Nazis, we’re not white supremacists, we’re the alt-right.’ I think that it’s a rebranding. I’ll say it’s fairly clever on their part.”
Bibiyan was one of three people attacked by California Klansman Charles Edward Donner on Feb. 27, 2016 at a counter-protest of a march by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Anaheim’s Pearson Park.
“As someone who fights for social justice, I figured this is a place they shouldn’t be,” Bibiyan told El Tecolote. “I think this country has seen 400 to 500 years of white supremacy and oppression of people of color, of minorities…I feel like I was acting in self defense, because I am of Jewish heritage and I have friends that are Latino, that are black, Muslim.”
The protest turned into a brawl and amid the chaos, Klansman Donner whipped out a pocket knife and began slashing. Counter-protester Armando Ortiz was stabbed in the armpit and Guy Harris received slashes to his forearm.
Bibiyan saw Donner attempting to leave the scene after attacking Harris and Ortiz and followed him.
“I could’ve approached Donner maliciously, and been in my legal right to do so. Because I would’ve been acting in defense of others,” Bibiyan said. “He’s running around stabbing people with a knife. I could’ve made a citizen’s arrest.”
He placed himself in Donner’s path in an attempt to keep him from escaping, but Donner stabbed Bibiyan twice.
Charged with adrenaline, Bibiyan chased Donner on foot and kicked him before collapsing to the pavement.
“He kind of looked at me like I was insane,” Bibiyan said.
Then, on the ground, Bibiyan realized he was seriously hurt. Blood was pouring from a stab wound in his chest and arm.
“I actually thought that this was it,” Bibiyan said to El Tecolote. “This is how I’m going to die. A f*cking Ku Klux Klan member just killed me, and I prayed.”
He was taken away on a stretcher and held under the name “John Doe” at a local hospital to avoid retaliations or further attacks by white supremacists.
Donner was arrested by Anaheim police, but released when he claimed he was acting in self-defense.
“I want to know why this guy wasn’t charged for nearly killing me,” Bibiyan said. Since the attack, he has lost feeling in two of his fingers and still feels pain in his chest.
In June of 2016, the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) charged seven counter-protesters — including Ortiz and Harris — with a slew of offenses including resisting or delaying a police officer, battery and assault.
When reporters from El Tecolote contacted the OCDA, spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder said via e-mail, “We were unable to meet our burden of filing only cases beyond a reasonable doubt based on the admissible evidence.”
Bibiyan says he’s baffled by the decision.
“How do you defend yourself from a non-assault?” he said. “If Charles Donner was a black man, he’d be in jail for life.”