During Trump protest on Santa Monica Pier, man sprays crowd with bear repellent
During a scuffle on the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday between supporters and protesters of President Trump, a man wildly sprayed protesters with bear repellent, according to police and a video of the incident.
The clash occurred around 1:20 in the afternoon after a group protesting Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made their way from the beach onto the pier, one of the region’s busiest tourist attractions, said Santa Monica Police Sgt. D. Hicks, who declined to give his full name.
The protesters were met on the pier by a group of Trump supporters, Hicks said. The two groups traded chants and taunts for about 10 minutes and then “everything went to crap,” according to Hicks.
Trump supporters appeared to begin pushing and scuffling with some of the protesters. A video of the expletive-filled skirmish posted to YouTube shows a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat circling the crowd, holding aloft a canister and unleashing a torrent of spray from it.
The substance, which Hicks said was bear repellent, sent the crowd scattering and people can be heard screaming on the video. As other Trump supporters held a protester on the ground, the man rushed back into the fracas and doused the protester at close range, the video shows.
Police received 911 calls from the pier and the video shows officers responding soon after the man sprayed the crowd. Several people pointed out the man, who remained nearby, and police took him into custody, according to the video.
Hicks said he was not authorized to release the man’s name, but described him as a 33-year-old from the area with a “fairly extensive” criminal record. The man remained in custody Sunday on suspicion of violating the terms of his parole from a previous weapons violation, Hicks said.
After viewing video of the incident, police realized a second, older Trump supporter may also have sprayed the crowd. Police are still working to identify that man, Hicks said.
Hicks said no protesters were seriously injured and some received treatment at the scene for the effects of the repellent, which is similar to pepper sprays used by police.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.