Black Journalist Who Protected Alt-Right Protester Has No Regrets

'It doesn't matter if he doesn't see my humanity ... I see his'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2017 8:03 AM CDT
Black Journalist Who Protected Alt-Right Protester Has No Regrets
Demonstrators clash during a free speech rally Sunday in Berkeley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

When journalist Al Letson saw a suspected alt-right protester being beaten by "antifa" supporters in Berkeley, Calif., on Sunday, he didn't stop to consider what the fallen man might think of him. Letson, who is black, simply wanted to save him. Running into the crowd, Letson jumped on top of the man in order to protect him. A series of videos posted to Twitter show Letson, in a red shirt, shielding the man's body and attempting to push the assailants away. "What came to me was that he was a human being, and I didn't want to see anybody die," Letson, host of podcast Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, tells NPR. "In retrospect, it doesn't matter if he doesn't see my humanity, what matters to me is that I see his."

Letson tells Slate that the unidentified protester had been with Joey Gibson of right-wing group Patriot Prayer during the mostly peaceful rally. But after Gibson began "antagonizing the black bloc," 20 to 30 others began chasing them. Gibson fled but his apparent companion "stumbled—or someone tripped him—and then four or five people surrounded him and began to kick and hit him," Letson says. When he noticed "a whole mass of people coming," Letson says he intervened in fear for the man's life. Though he was struck a few times, he'd do it all again, per Reveal. "I remember seeing the pictures of a young man being brutally beaten by these guys with poles [in Charlottesville], and when I saw that I thought, "Why didn't anybody step in?" he says. (More Berkeley stories.)

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