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Anaheim protesters in Ku Klux Klan melee released from jail pending charges

All but one person involved in a bloody melee between Ku Klux Klan members and protesters in Anaheim has been released from jail without criminal charges, according to officials and jail records.

Of the 13 people detained by police following Saturday's violence, only one remains in custody — Guy Harris, 19, whom authorities described as a transient. Harris is being held on a matter unrelated to Saturday’s incident, according to Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

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Generally, people arrested in California must be released from custody if they have not been charged by prosecutors within 72 hours. In the case of Saturday’s incident at Pearson Park, in which three people were stabbed, the Orange County District Attorney’s office said it needed more time to review the considerable evidence generated by the event. 

“The Anaheim Police Department has submitted a comprehensive and detailed investigation, which includes a significant amount of evidence in the form of videos and still photographs from multiple sources, in addition to numerous statements from witnesses, victims and suspects,” the DA’s office said. “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is in the process of reviewing the case in its entirety in order to make the appropriate charging decisions surrounding the rally incident.”

Three protesters were released from jail Tuesday night, records show.

“At this point they have not requested any further investigation, just more time. I am sure they will need to watch several of the videos frame by frame to see what charges are most appropriate for which suspects on which victims,” Wyatt told The Times in an email. “We all want to make sure it is done right so if they need more time that is fine with us.”

The three who were released were part of a larger counter-protest contingent that showed up at Pearson Park on Saturday morning to confront a planned KKK rally and were seen on camera rushing the Klan members as soon as they exited their vehicles, Anaheim police said.

The rally’s theme was to be “White Lives Matter,” and Klan members were expected to pass out fliers to park visitors. The KKK members weren’t wearing white robes and hoods from the Klan of yesteryear, but black shirts with patches of the Confederate flag, the KKK insignia and their respective ranks. One man had a patch reading “Grand Dragon.”

While prosecutors mull possible charges against everyone involved, police continue to search for a man seen on video kicking a Klan member in the head while he was on the ground. Police haven’t received a single tip regarding the man’s identity, Wyatt said.

Anaheim police have been criticized since the melee for not being present at the park sooner.

However, Wyatt said the department could have had 30 officers stationed at the park and it would not have stopped the rogue group of protesters from launching themselves at the Klan members.

“People are pointing their fingers at the Police Department. The Police Department didn’t incite this violence. The protesters did; the counter-protesters did. When are they going to be held accountable?” he said.

The Klan had requested that police be there to provide security, but the department refused, Wyatt said. When department officials told the group there are protocols for hiring officers for security but that it cost money, the group turned Anaheim police down, Wyatt said.

Klan members then asked whether they could hire their own private, armed security for the event. Again, police said no — that’s illegal, Wyatt said.

So instead, the group showed up alone.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Follow me @josephserna

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