Gabriel Nelson’s Assault and Arrest by Trump-Islamophobes and Oceanside Police.

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So. Okay.  Let’s say this happened.  Which it did, Saturday June 10 in Oceanside.

Let’s say that a known extremist hate group, ACT! For America, is holding a “March Against Sharia Law” in the middle of Ramadan, not only nationwide but also in your neck of the woods, and several dozen bulging bellowing men and shrieking women, emboldened by and worshipful of President Trump, some of them got-up in creepy quasi-paramilitary garb, are there screaming into megaphones about how Female Genital Mutilation and Honor Killings don’t belong in the USA, interspersed with the nonsensical chants “ALL LIVES MATTER!”, “BLUE LIVES MATTER!”, and “U.S.A!  U.S.A!”

Now, you could just stay safe at home, or go to some other beach, far away from these psychos, and ignore the whole thing.  

Or you could join some like-minded nice folks, Muslims and others, in a peaceful demonstration on the other side of the boardwalk, an “anti-Islamophobia rally” standing up to this slander against our Muslim fellow Americans, bearing signs that preach tolerance, diversity and love, and singing “Give Peace a Chance.”  Well, that happened.

Or, if you were someone like my son Gabriel (or me, or Naui, or others I know) you might attempt the doomed effort to talk sense and truth to these folks, knowing it’ll probably lead to arguments and abuse, telling them things like “Nobody is trying to bring Sharia Law to America.  In any case Sharia Law begins with following the laws of the nation you’re living in.  There’s no Female Genital Mutilation or Honor Killings or Stoning of Gays in America and there never will be.  In any case Female Genital Mutilation has nothing to do with Islam; it’s an African custom followed by African Christians as well as African Muslims.  You guys know nothing about this issue;  you just hate and fear Muslims.”  Knowing that they’ll probably just yell back at you, “U.S.A!  U.S.A! U.S.A!  U.S.A!” because you’re right.

And all of that happened too.  Cut to the video:

By the time this video (taken by counter-rally organizer John Lemieux) starts, Gabriel was tired of trying to talk sense to these people.  You first see him around 1:01, “the guy with the guitar,” telling the protesters, “You’re all full of shit, you’re a bunch of racist assholes.”  One of them tells him to have respect, and he answers, “I have respect for everybody, it’s you that doesn’t.”  Then one of the Trump women pushes him around 1:30, and he walks over to talk to the police (a little cop gaggle that includes female Officer Payfer.)  They ask if he wants to press charges for getting shoved, and he says he doesn’t see the point;  as they talk the Trumpies chant “Blue Lives Matter!” and then, at Gabriel, “Attack the Police Officers!  Attack the Police Officers!”

By 5:25 Gabriel has gone back to discussing Sharia Law with the protesters again, but hearing his arguments makes them furious.  By 5:25 Duane Siegmann of Oceanside has taken to shouting “USA!  USA!” through a megaphone directly one foot in front of Gabriel’s face.  Yelling, “Get that out of my face!” Gabriel pushes the megaphone away, and a Trump woman wedges herself between them.  A few seconds later, at 5:57, Officer Payfer grabs Gabriel from behind (from his backpack) and he immediately swings around with fist raised to defend himself from his unknown attacker.

That’s when two young male officers grab him, pull him to the ground and hold him there while choking him, as the crowds egg the cops on with “Blue Lives Matter!  Blue Lives Matter!” He was never at any point given any instructions or told he was under arrest. (They also arrest his cousin Tyler who was trying to intervene, at 6:25.)  In this Union-Tribune video around 3:50 you can hear Gabriel’s all-too-familiar cries of, “I can’t breathe!  You’re killing me!”

Gabriel now stands charged with FELONY resisting arrest.  His arraignment is tomorrow morning in Vista.  There’s a lot more to say, including about his injuries, but this will do for now – the Orange Juice Blog will keep you updated!  For now…

Please support Gabriel Nelson’s Legal Defense Fund if you can.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.