Tag Archive for: Pacific Beach protest

Photo of gavel and scales of justice.

Eight Antifa Defendants Sentenced in Pacific Beach Assault Case

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that eight defendants convicted in connection with violent criminal acts committed during a demonstration in Pacific Beach have been sentenced and the case, which garnered national attention, is now closed.

 “From the start this prosecution has been about holding individuals accountable for conspiring to bring violence to our community, something we won’t tolerate,” said DA Stephan. “This was a complex case with all 11 defendants convicted. Our prosecution team worked tirelessly with law enforcement on this case to ensure our community remains safe, and that the rule of law is followed.”

Alexander Akridgejacobs, 33; Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., 27; Christian Martinez, 25; Ruchelle Ogden, 26; Bryan Rivera, 22; Faraz Martin Talab, 29; Joseph Austin Gaskins, 23; and Jeremy White, 41 received sentences ranging from 180 days in jail to two years in prison. Three other defendants have already been sentenced to state prison ranging from two years, eight months to five years.

The sentencings come after a criminal grand jury returned indictments against 11 individuals charged with crimes including conspiracy to commit a riot, use of tear gas, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. In lieu of a preliminary hearing, the grand jury heard testimony over 13 days and delivered the unsealed indictment in May of 2022. In total, the defendants were indicted on 29 felony counts.

The grand jury indictment noted that the defendants were all affiliated with Antifa. A group of the defendants were based in the Los Angeles area and the remaining defendants were from San Diego County. Ten of the defendants faced conspiracy charges after the indictment and prosecutors told the court that the objective of the conspiracy was to incite and participate in a riot. It’s believed that this is the first criminal case in the nation where crimes committed by members of Antifa were brought to justice and held accountable.

In January of 2021, Antifa supporters posted on social media calling for “counterprotesting” and direct action in response to a scheduled political demonstration in Pacific Beach. The defendants and other uncharged co-conspirators confirmed their support and participation by showing up in Pacific Beach dressed in black clothing and armed with weapons and protective gear.

As the case made its way through the criminal justice system, nine of the defendants entered guilty pleas and two others were convicted by a jury at trial.  All defendants indicted by the criminal grand jury for conspiracy entered a plea to that charge or were convicted of that charge at trial.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Makenzie Harvey, William Hopkins, and Evan Andersen with investigative support from District Attorney Investigator Jonah Conley and SDPD Detective Emily Clark.