LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Police Department Thursday was looking into several physical altercations that erupted in downtown Los Angeles during a pro-Trump demonstration held Wednesday.
“I don’t understand what’s going on in the world,” Berlinda Nibo, who was assaulted by some of the attendees, said. “I’m saddened by it. I’m heartbroken by it.”
Photographs from the demonstration, taken by freelance photojournalist Raquel Natalicchio, showed the moments Nibo was attacked by the mob. “It’s a shame that I can’t walk down my street anymore,” Nibo said.
She said she was walking near the demonstration when she said the pro-Trump demonstrators began harassing her. “I’m walking by and they’re yelling at me because of my color, calling me the N-word calling me the B-word, saying, ‘All lives matter, Black lives doesn’t matter,'” she said.
She said she yelled back and the crowd began following her, and then it turned violent. “He goes and smacks me in the face,” Nibo said of one of the demonstrators. “And then all of them start trying to jump me, and then people jump in.”
“When they started pushing her around, this other woman that was a Trump supporter came up to her and ripped her wig off.” Natalicchio said. “Obviously, at that point, she began to try to defend herself.”
Natalicchio said she had to speak out about what she witnessed Wednesday afternoon. “It’s disgraceful,” she said. “I think it’s disgusting we’re witnessing the very real racism that still lives in our country today.”
Nibo said strangers came to her rescue, including a man with a red beard who was seen holding her in a number of the photos. “He was whispering in my ear going ‘You’re OK, I got you, I’ve got you, don’t do anything. These people are literally trying to kill you,'” Nibo said.
As she said the man attempted to get her safely away from the crowd, she was pepper sprayed in the face and hit. She credits the man for saving her life. “If not for him stepping in at that moment, these people would have literally tried to kill me,” she said.
LAPD eventually declared the demonstration an unlawful assembly and six people were arrested, though none were taken into custody on suspicion of assault.
“People of color experience things like this on a daily basis and are seldom believed when they speak about it,” Natalicchio said. She said that’s why she took the photos, and hopes that they not only give the woman a voice, but also provide proof that more must be done to send a stronger message against hate.
“It’s real sad,” she said. “We gotta do better. We got to do better.”
LAPD said in a statement that it was investigating the incident as a hate crime and asked for anyone with information to contact Central Area detectives.
“Based on her statements and other evidence, a hate crime/battery report was taken,” the statement said. “The individual seen in the images with his arms wrapped around her — per the victim’s statement — was determined to be a Good Samaritan that helped her get away from the hostile crowd, by carrying her to safety.”