Berkeley, CA – A former college professor who was charged with smashing multiple people over the head with a metal U-shaped bike lock during an antifa protest was sentenced to three years of probation on Wednesday.
Alameda County Superior Court records showed that on the day he was due in court for a preliminary hearing, Eric Clanton entered a “no contest” plea to one misdemeanor battery charge in accordance with a plea deal he made with the prosecutor, Berkeleyside reported.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the felony charges against Clanton were dismissed, and an allegation that he had caused serious bodily harm was stricken as well, Berkeleyside reported.
A misdemeanor charge of committing a crime while wearing a mask was also dropped.
Clanton, a 29-year-old former Diablo Valley College philosophy professor, was arrested on May 24, 2017 in Oakland for assaulting at least three people at a pro-Trump march in Berkeley a month earlier.
The assaults occurred on April 15, 2017 during the rally at Civic Center Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
In a statement, police said that video of the incident that was filmed by people in the crowd and posted on social media helped investigators identify Clanton as the assailant.
On the video, a man later identified as Clanton can be seen hitting people in the head with a U-shaped bicycle lock. Police said three people received "significant injuries" from the assaults, the East Bay Times reported.
Homicide detectives conducted the investigation because of the seriousness of the injuries.
Clanton was initially charged with three felony counts of suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon that isn’t a firearm and assault causing great bodily injury, the East Bay Times reported
But authorities later said Clanton hit at least seven people in the head during his protest rampage, court documents revealed, according to Berkeleyside.
Court records showed one victim received a head laceration that required five staples to fix. In another case, the intended victim’s protective bike helmet was cracked when Clanton hit him, and a piece was broken off. Police said the third victim was struck across the neck and back.
Clanton's attorney Daniel Siegel told the Sacramento Bee that medical records had showed only one of the victims sought medical treatment following the attacks.
During a search of Clanton’s home in San Leandro, police found evidence linking the former college professor to antifa and anarchist groups, Berkeleyside reported. They also found a camera with “selfies” taken “with him wearing black clothing and facial coverings,” court records showed.
Clanton was arrested in West Oakland at the second location police searched. Detectives “recovered U-locks, sunglasses, a glove, jeans, and facial coverings” believed to have been worn by him during the assaults, according to court documents.
Additionally, phone records proved Clanton had been in the area of the protests at the time the assaults were committed, Berkeleyside reported.
Clanton, who taught at the community college in 2015 and 2016, has an “Iron Front” tattoo on his bicep that police photographed when he was being booked. Police said that tattoo “is associated with Anti-Fascists,” court records showed.
At some point between the assaults in April of 2017 and his May arrest, Clanton tried to talk to with his former colleagues at the school about his participation the protests, but he never tried to assert that he was innocent, police said.
Clanton had been previously arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest on Jan. 9, 2014, Berkeleyside reported.
He was arrested in Oakland by the California Highway Patrol on suspicion of committing a “public nuisance,” and “willfully and maliciously” blocking a street, sidewalk or other public place; however, no charges were filed after that incident, according to Berkeleyside.