By a member of the UFCW and anti-racist activist
Friday July 17th 2020
This protest was organized in response to the attacks on Main St businesses with Neo Nazi propaganda.
Contrary to belief by some on the right in this county those of us on the left value and respect our local business owners and businesses on Main St. We also care very much about our community and will not stand for acts of hate!
This is our accounting of that day.
We started the day by attending the Standing Against Racism with Art show put on by the El Dorado Progressives. We witnessed such beautiful art done by youth and older people in our community expressing their feelings about racism, hate and police brutality through beautiful art pieces. After being awed with such amazing art we headed down the street to participate in the Taking A Stand Against Hate Protest.
When we got there, there were only a few people gathered on the court house steps. Being that online threats had already been made to some planning to attend the protest the organizers reached out to the National Lawyers Guild, Black Zebra Productions and Norcal Resist to be legal observers of the days events. When we got there Black Zebra and the NLG were already there observing and filming. Within minutes of us arriving there were already men (some wearing Trump shirts & hats) to the right of the court house steps watching protesters who were showing up.
Support from passersby vs. activity of racists
The crowd of protesters grew quickly I’d say between 30 to 50. Right off the bat the community of Placerville greeted protesters with honks of support and thumbs up for our actions. Our chants started we were loud. By this time a few counter protesters started gathering across the street. They were on their phones some talking, some filming us. A few of the counter protesters walked away for awhile but soon returning with a large
crowd of men. Some banishing large knives, some unshirted, some wearing Trump shirts. Only two of the men that I noticed had any face covering. One of the men wearing a face covering was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and was suspected to be someone from the Boogaloo Boy movement. One of the counter protesters wearing a black & white plaid shirt was also wearing what appeared to be a combat vest. All their posturing told us they were showing up ready to fight! Once they had the crowd size they begin yelling at us, giving us the middle finger and making jesters for us to come across the street to their side so they could fight us. It was clear that the counter protesters were there to intimidate. By this time I believe the Black Zebra film crew was already across the street filming. At some point some of the counter protesters had did something that threatened one of the Black Zebra crew and that’s when all hell broke loose. There were at least four squad cars from Placerville PD on different locations of Main St, one in the parking lot directly across the street from the court house. As tempers flared there was a lot of yelling. That’s when a few people from our side crossed the street to protect the film crew and legal observers. That’s when the counters protesters begin shoving, using racial slurs and making death threats! One of the men from our side was a young African American man and he was one that crossed the street to protect the film crew. Lots of nose to nose yelling and chest pushing. Finally well into the confrontation the police in the parking lot decided they’d get out of their car and get involved before someone got hurt. From our side of the street it appeared that the police weren’t doing much other than standing showing there presence. Our side started with loud chants “Nazi’s go home!” the louder we got the more people milling around Main St started to stop and watch what was going on. Now not only was the film crew and the NLG getting everything documented but now actual community members were witnessing the event. By this time it was obvious that Placerville PD was doing very little to dufuse the situation.
Our side started chanting “Our people come back to our side”! There were even a few of the counter protesters who were trying to defuse the situation.
Finally our people got back to our side of the street. The young African American man was clearly upset! He kept saying “They called me a nigger!” “There is so much hate here!” We all tried to calm him down. Everyone tried to collect our emotions then we continued the protest for a brief while.
Pairing up to return to cars
It was around 6:15 pm by then some organizers of the event agreed it was time to wrap up the protest before anymore confrontations could flair up. Organizers on the megaphone told us to pair up going back to cars. I reached out to the young black man and offered him a ride back to his car. I knew he wouldn’t be safe walking the streets of Placerville by himself. My wife was with the other two men involved in the altercation with the counter protesters. We wanted everyone to get to their cars safely. Myself and the young black man started walking to our car parked by the town hall. I didn’t know at the time but my wife got separated from us. I got the young black man to my car safely and my wife and the other two men were with her finally caught up She told me as she was walking back to car the two counter protesters that were suspected Boogaloo Boys started to follow them. Im sure more intimidation tactics on their part. Once we were gathered around the town hall the other two men stayed with my wife while I got the black man to his vehicle. On the way to his vehicle the young black man kept repeating “There is so much hate in this town!” I tried to tell him not all in this town are like those angry counter protesters but i did say we definitively have some deep seated problems in this area and thats why we’ve been out in the streets up here for the past 4 years. We got back to the town hall where we all met up again. We got the 3 men out of town safely. On our way home we drove by the court house to see who was still there. Mostly just the organizers, the film crew and the legal observers. Once at home we started sending text and making phone calls to make sure all the people who we knew made it home safely. This is our recalling of that day.
I have lived in El Dorado county for 31 years. I’ve known we had some problems with racism up here but that display of violence and hate was truly embarrassing & shameful. It’s my opinion that this town needs to take a long good look in the mirror and ask themselves how can we do better? We are better than this! Or are we? Here is a video of this protest and the racists who came out to attack the protesters. To see who they really are, go to about 11 minutes in.