Two Unitarian Universalists were released from an Anaheim, California, jail Tuesday night without being charged after being held for 72 hours following an anti-KKK protest that turned into a series of physical confrontations on Saturday, February 27.
Hugo Contreras, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, and Mark Liddell, of First UU Church of Los Angeles, were arrested early Saturday afternoon along with ten other people after a fight broke out in an Anaheim park between anti-KKK protesters and Ku Klux Klan members. A Ku Klux Klan member stabbed three protesters in self-defense, according to police.
Contrary to earlier social media posts, neither Contreras nor Liddell was stabbed during the incident, although Contreras sustained an injury to his arm, according to Rick Rhoads, a lay leader at the Santa Monica church who was at Pearson Park Saturday.
Neither Contreras nor Liddell could be reached for comment.
Unitarian Universalists in the Los Angeles metro area quickly set up a bail fund and alerted national UU leadership, including the Standing on the Side of Love office in Washington, D.C. Contreras and Liddell were released Tuesday night, although a police statement said they and other protesters may still face charges. Initial news reports indicated their bail was set for $50,000; according to Rhoads, that bail was reset to zero at the time of their release from jail.
The Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur, minister of the UU Community Church of Santa Monica, said that she and Rhoads have heard from UUs across the country looking to help with the legal defense fund for Contreras and Liddell, which she hopes they will no longer need.
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