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Long Beach BLM activist no longer faces attempted murder for collision with Yorba Linda – Orange County Register

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Orange County prosecutors have dropped an attempted murder charge in the high-profile criminal case against Tatiana Turner, a Black Lives Matter activist from Long Beach who prosecutors have accused of deliberately driving through a crowd of counter- Protesters during a violent confrontation at a 2020 Yorba Linda Demonstration.

Turner – who says he acted in self-defense after an angry mob surrounded his car during a rally against police brutality and systemic racism – remains on trial for lesser mayhem and assault , among other charges, but no longer faces the prospect of a potential life.

The amended charges were introduced during a court hearing on Friday. Turner again pleaded not guilty, according to court records, and his new bond was set at $100,000, a significant reduction from his previous bond of $1 million. After previously facing more than 30 years to life in prison if convicted, Turner now faces up to 19 years behind bars, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors say Turner broke a man’s leg and ran over a woman’s head and argued she could have avoided hitting the counter-protesters. The attempted murder charge was tied to the hospitalized woman.

Senior Public Defender Alisha Montoro, who represents Turner, said: ‘Ms. Turner and I are certainly pleased that she is no longer facing a life sentence.

Montoro said she still plans to file a motion to have the case taken away from Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and his office. Spitzer had Turner removed last spring from a debate for district attorney candidates for allegedly heckling him.

“From the beginning, the handling of Ms. Turner’s case has been politically and personally driven by Todd Spitzer,” Montoro said. “Mr. Spitzer’s conflict of interest, as evidenced by his actions and statements, has made it clear that Ms. Turner cannot receive a fair trial if he is responsible.

Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office, said in a statement why the attempted murder charges were dropped: “New information about the case has come to light regarding (Turner’s) evidence and defense. ” She did not specify.

Edds noted that Turner wasn’t the only person charged in connection with the protest: At least five other people on both sides of the protest were also charged with lesser crimes.

“The conduct of this defendant and all other defendants charged in this case on both sides of the protest was violent and inexcusable,” Edds said. “Every American has the right to exercise their freedom of speech and to peacefully protest, but when that freedom of speech turns violent, we as a society must hold people criminally accountable so others can continue. to exercise their right to freedom of expression without fear of violence.”

By all accounts, the scene was chaotic and violent that day between opposing protesters.

Turner – the founder of Caravan 4 Justice in Long Beach – and her fellow activists had gathered in a library parking lot. A group of counter-protesters – many wearing pro-Trump clothing and waving American flags – had set up shop across the Imperial Highway in the parking lot of a Mimi’s Cafe.

According to courtroom testimony and video footage, counter-protesters marched through Imperial to confront Black Lives Matter supporters. The deputies in the library parking lot retreated, as another depute in a helicopter above him ordered everyone to leave. Instead, shouting and shouting turned into jostling.

In the middle of the clash, Turner got into her Nissan Sentra. More than a dozen counter-protesters gathered around the car, according to witness accounts and video footage.

A witness heard someone say “Don’t do it” and “It’s not worth it”, followed by squealing tires, a deputy testified. Turner sped up, quickly stopped, then sped up again, video footage shows, crushing the man and woman.

A group of more than a dozen counter-protesters chased Turner from the parking lot. Turner pulled up next to a deputy parked a short distance away, at least some of her car windows broken or broken, and said she feared for her life.

In a 911 call broadcast during a court hearing, Turner could be heard telling a dispatcher that there were people shooting at her, threatening to shoot. Deputies testified that no firearms were visible during the protest, and none of the video footage shown in court showed a firearm being brandished.

The man Turner is accused of running down testified that she looked him in the eye before moving forward, and in a recorded 911 call leading up to the collision, he could have been heard saying: “We let’s fuck their ass.” But video footage from the scene also shows at least one person kicking Turner’s car, either immediately before the vehicle began to move or at the same time, and a judge said he “n ‘didn’t disagree’ that Turner’s vehicle appeared to be surrounded.

In previous hearings, Montoro argued that Turner’s car was “under siege” and that she feared for her life.

Some of the counter-protesters questioned by law enforcement at the scene later posted videos on social media bragging about beating activists during the Yorba Linda protest, including a man affiliated with the group far-right Proud Boys. The man Turner is accused of knocking down had a shirt referencing the Three-Percenters, another far-right group.

Earlier this year, Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner ruled there was enough evidence to move the attempted murder case against Turner to a jury trial. In making his decision, Steiner noted that Turner’s defense at trial will almost certainly revolve around an argument of self-defense and added that such an argument could potentially be bolstered by Turner immediately going to the police for help. ‘assistance.

Turner is out on bail pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

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