Alt-Right Protester Arrested For 'Making Terrorist Threats' Outside Cudahy City Council Meeting
A pro-Trump protester was arrested for "making a terrorist threat" outside of a local city council meeting in southeast Los Angeles County on Monday night.
Despite occupying a mere 1.2 square miles of land, the tiny, working-class town of Cudahy has become a political flashpoint, attracting the attention and ire of anti-immigration American nationalist groups because of its self-designated "sanctuary city" status. Protesters have been attending Cudahy city council meetings since the city's largely symbolic sanctuary designation was put in place in 2015, but locals say tensions have escalated dramatically since President Trump took office in January. An anti-sanctuary city protester was arrested for brandishing a gun at counterprotesters after a Cudahy city council meeting in late June.
About 15 pro-Trump protesters associated with various alt-right groups, many of whom were clad in Trump apparel, attended Monday night's city council meeting at Clara Park in Cudahy.
"There was an individual, male, who was arrested outside the Cudahy city council meeting, and the arrest was for making terrorist threats," Lt. Sam Arellano of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, East L.A. station, told LAist. The incident occurred in the parking lot of Clara Park at around 8:30 p.m., toward the end of the city council meeting.
In the video of the incident below (warning: very graphic language), protesters and counterprotesters can be seen angrily facing off and trading verbal barbs. At the 4:56 mark, Robert Herrera, an alt-right protester known as "Legal Latino Heat" can be heard saying "I got a rice cooker in the trunk. I'll blow all you motherf*ckers up." Herrera can be seen being detained by Sheriff's deputies about a minute and a half later.
Another alt-right protester who was present at the time of the incident told LAist on Tuesday morning that Herrera remains detained at East L.A. Sheriff's Station and is being held on $50,000 bail. The arresting officer, Sgt. Jose Hernandez of the Sheriff's department, confirmed that Herrera was still in custody at the East L.A. station as of mid-morning Tuesday.
The fellow alt-right protester said that Herrera did not actually have a rice cooker, and was not making a legitimate threat. "He didn't have a car there, he just put his foot in his mouth making a joke," the fellow protester told LAist. Most of the pro-Trump group had arrived together in Cudahy in a rented yellow van; the fellow protester said that Herrera had also traveled to the meeting on the bus. "He's one of the more levelheaded people in the movement," the fellow protester said of Herrera.
"We weren't able to determine that [Herrera] came in his own vehicle," Sgt. Hernandez told LAist. "I think he made a further statement to somebody that he came in that yellow van. That yellow van was checked out, and it did check clear."
"Since the November 2016 election, these groups—these fanatics, these neo-Nazis, these white supremacists, these anti-immigrant groups—have been emboldened. They've been given a platform and have been terrorizing communities like mine," Cudahy Mayor Chris Garcia told LAist.
Related: How A Tiny City In Southeast L.A. County Became An Unlikely Battleground In The Sanctuary City Debate
Photos: Anti-'Sanctuary City' Protester Arrested For Brandishing Gun After Cudahy City Council Meeting