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Antifa defendants expose selves gloating over Reader cover

“We made the front page, boys.”

Reader cover photo, February 25, 2021 - Image by JC
Reader cover photo, February 25, 2021

An Instagram post and a Reader cover photo helped police identify five Antifa activists who allegedly attacked people in Pacific Beach on January 9, 2021, according to redacted transcripts of the May 2022 grand jury proceedings that resulted in indictments against eleven defendants for conspiracy and assault.

Deputy district attorney William Hopkins alleged defendants Luis Mora, Bryan Rivera, Martin Talab, and Christian Martinez are shown attacking a victim in the cover photo of the February 25, 2021 Reader - “San Diego’s antifascists turn fascist” - and they posted it and bragged about it on the Instagram page of defendant Brian Lightfoot.

The cover photo was taken by JC, a photojournalist who is named in the indictments as one of Antifa’s victims. It shows a scene from a five-on-one fight with an elderly man, another named victim. A detective alleged Martinez is pictured on the left holding out pepper spray, Rivera is in the middle kneeing the man, Mora is on the right punching him, and Talab is behind Martinez, having swiped at the man.

A DA investigator explained the Instagram chat to the jury. “It starts out with Rivera saying, ‘We made the front page, boys.’ Mora replies, ‘Whoa! F__ the San Diego Reader for false info, but this shot is pretty.’ Rivera makes the statement, ‘I kneed that MF.’ Martinez replies, ‘..We made it. I was there tryna spray his a__.’ Mora replies, ‘…He got decked.’

“Martinez replies, ‘Bro, we’ve got to re-live this moment again.’ Talab then says, ‘Got caught slipping street fight mode…My dogs have my back.’ Rivera says in capitals, ‘We’ve got to get our hands on this article.’”

Brian Lightfoot allegedly spraying victim

Hopkins told the jury that because of the social media gloating, law enforcement was able to get search warrants on their social media, find out who they were, then get search warrants on their cell phones and houses.

A detective said, “[The Instagram chat] was very helpful, because many of the group members identify themselves as being involved in that particular attack… I was able to go back through numerous hours of video and numerous photos that were taken on January 9th and identify what other incidents they may have been involved in…”

Prosecutor Hopkins told the jury that after the suspects from the cover photo were identified, most were traced to an Antifa cell in Los Angeles. San Diego police worked with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives to serve search and arrest warrants.

Another detective described executing a search of the home of defendant Samuel Ogden about a year after the PB riot and finding copies of the Reader with the riot cover story. “I located multiple copies of this specific edition throughout the residence, and the majority, like a bulk of them, were in one box in the living room close to Ogden’s living space.”

Indigo Curtis

Defendant Jesse Cannon allegedly put a photo of the Readers with the Antifa cover story into an advertisement for a bonfire. A detective testified, “It appears to be a flier that reads, ‘Antifa bonfire…Bring you know what. #F___ the Reader.’”

On the day the Reader cover came out, a Facebook user with the profile name Indigo Curtis posted, “There will be Reader bonfires tonight.” A Lisa Burgess responded, “Oh I will burn that free rag.” Some posted that their local Reader stands were empty. Curtis replied, “I have one for each of you…I have a buttload.”

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Reader cover photo, February 25, 2021 - Image by JC
Reader cover photo, February 25, 2021

An Instagram post and a Reader cover photo helped police identify five Antifa activists who allegedly attacked people in Pacific Beach on January 9, 2021, according to redacted transcripts of the May 2022 grand jury proceedings that resulted in indictments against eleven defendants for conspiracy and assault.

Deputy district attorney William Hopkins alleged defendants Luis Mora, Bryan Rivera, Martin Talab, and Christian Martinez are shown attacking a victim in the cover photo of the February 25, 2021 Reader - “San Diego’s antifascists turn fascist” - and they posted it and bragged about it on the Instagram page of defendant Brian Lightfoot.

The cover photo was taken by JC, a photojournalist who is named in the indictments as one of Antifa’s victims. It shows a scene from a five-on-one fight with an elderly man, another named victim. A detective alleged Martinez is pictured on the left holding out pepper spray, Rivera is in the middle kneeing the man, Mora is on the right punching him, and Talab is behind Martinez, having swiped at the man.

A DA investigator explained the Instagram chat to the jury. “It starts out with Rivera saying, ‘We made the front page, boys.’ Mora replies, ‘Whoa! F__ the San Diego Reader for false info, but this shot is pretty.’ Rivera makes the statement, ‘I kneed that MF.’ Martinez replies, ‘..We made it. I was there tryna spray his a__.’ Mora replies, ‘…He got decked.’

“Martinez replies, ‘Bro, we’ve got to re-live this moment again.’ Talab then says, ‘Got caught slipping street fight mode…My dogs have my back.’ Rivera says in capitals, ‘We’ve got to get our hands on this article.’”

Brian Lightfoot allegedly spraying victim

Hopkins told the jury that because of the social media gloating, law enforcement was able to get search warrants on their social media, find out who they were, then get search warrants on their cell phones and houses.

A detective said, “[The Instagram chat] was very helpful, because many of the group members identify themselves as being involved in that particular attack… I was able to go back through numerous hours of video and numerous photos that were taken on January 9th and identify what other incidents they may have been involved in…”

Prosecutor Hopkins told the jury that after the suspects from the cover photo were identified, most were traced to an Antifa cell in Los Angeles. San Diego police worked with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives to serve search and arrest warrants.

Another detective described executing a search of the home of defendant Samuel Ogden about a year after the PB riot and finding copies of the Reader with the riot cover story. “I located multiple copies of this specific edition throughout the residence, and the majority, like a bulk of them, were in one box in the living room close to Ogden’s living space.”

Indigo Curtis

Defendant Jesse Cannon allegedly put a photo of the Readers with the Antifa cover story into an advertisement for a bonfire. A detective testified, “It appears to be a flier that reads, ‘Antifa bonfire…Bring you know what. #F___ the Reader.’”

On the day the Reader cover came out, a Facebook user with the profile name Indigo Curtis posted, “There will be Reader bonfires tonight.” A Lisa Burgess responded, “Oh I will burn that free rag.” Some posted that their local Reader stands were empty. Curtis replied, “I have one for each of you…I have a buttload.”

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2

Erich Louis Yach might be the Antifa defendant facing the most possible years in prison. He has 3 active court cases in San Diego County, plus he allegedly committed the riot crimes while out on bail for previous felony, which could add 16 years to any other sentence. When Yach was in court on September 15, his attorney repeated his prior statements that they expect to make a plea deal for his two felony cases, so Yach's one misdemeanor-resisting-arrest case will be dismissed. Yach is next due in court on Sept 28.

Sept. 17, 2022

Deputy District Attorney Will Hopkins is one of three prosecutors handling this complicated, 11-defendant case, currently scheduled to go to trial in March 2023. Remarks by the judge and defense attorneys hint that they expect perhaps half the defendants to make plea deals before the trial date.

Sept. 17, 2022

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