Eric Clanton takes 3-year probation deal in Berkeley rally bike lock assault case
By Emilie Raguso Aug. 8, 2018, 2:14 p.m.
A former East Bay college philosophy professor who was charged with four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon, causing great bodily injury, has taken a deal resulting in three years of probation for an attack at a Berkeley protest last year, court records reveal.
Eric Clanton had been linked by police to violent assaults with a metal bike lock during a “free speech” rally in Berkeley on April 15, 2017. Before his arrest, Clanton had been “outed” online, on the website 4chan, as someone who used a bike lock to strike a man in the head. The assault was captured in a video clip (below) that drew widespread attention and anger after it was posted on YouTube.
Wednesday, Clanton was supposed to have had his preliminary hearing, where a judge decides whether there’s enough evidence in a case for it to move ahead to trial. Instead, there was no hearing, and information about Clanton’s plea deal became available online.
According to Alameda County Superior Court records, Clanton entered a “no contest” plea Wednesday to one misdemeanor battery charge. The felony charges against him were dismissed, and an allegation that he had caused serious bodily injury was stricken. A misdemeanor charge that Clanton wore a mask during the commission of the crime also was dropped.
Clanton’s three years of probation begin Wednesday and last through Aug. 8, 2021.
Police said, previously, that Clanton attacked at least three people with a metal U-lock during the April 15 rally in and around Civic Center Park. Court papers later revealed that Clanton struck at least seven people in the head, according to authorities. One person received a head laceration that required five staples to fix. Another was uninjured but had a piece of a helmet broken off. A third was struck across the neck and back, police wrote.
* I hope some attorney has reached out to those assaulted and is ready with a civil suit.
* Robert, Lord Crichton of Sanquhar, lost an eye when sparring with a fencing master of the name of Turner. When at the French Court some time after, the King, Henry IV, asked how he came by the injury and on being informed, inquired, “Does the fellow live?”
Eric Clanton hurt a number of people and they know who he is. Does he have anything to fear?
* Depends where in California. Getting an Alameda county jury to convict this guy is a very steep hill to climb. So he negotiated a sweet deal. Prosecutors don’t have time to waste on trying losing cases, especially in Alameda county.
* The feds can press federal charges and jail him for 10 years or more for denying civil rights with violence.
* The light sentence only makes sense if one of two things is going to occur.
1. The Feds do intend to pursue it. It is not unusual for a state to cut a sweet deal with a defendant if they have been advised by the Feds that they will also file charges.
2. He is a snitch. But a snitch only get a deal this good if he helps bring down someone with much more culpability than the snitch or he helps take down a criminal organization.
Absent one or the other, this is a legitimate miscarriage of justice. The type that should cause riots in the streets.
* Clanton was a part time community college instructor. He was fired after the riot. I doubt he owns a home. His car’s probably worth about $8,000 and he probably owes $6,000 on it.
Alameda county DA is one of the most pro criminal in the country.
* It’s been more than a year. The feds will never file violation of civil rights charges when the victim is White.
* Sessions is too busy trying to promote civil forfeiture and keep weed illegal to protect Trump’s base from political violence.
* I think I read it was a Nolo plea. So the prosecutor screwed the victims doubly. A guilty plea would make a civil suit easy, the Nolo plea means a civil trial must establish first the fact that Prof Commie committed the crime. And the trial would be held in Berkeley. Good luck with that.
* Probation can be a very strict. Some people prefer jail time just to be ‘free’ afterwards. I have no idea how strict Alameda County’s probation is but it can require drug and alcohol testing, limitations on travel ( without court permission), payments for your own supervision and community service work. Its not pleasant.