Tatiana’s Prelim 1: Brian Willis (with the broken leg) testifies!

Caravan 4 Justice’s Tatiana Turner, out now on a million dollars bail, is finally having her preliminary hearing this week, nearly a year after the Yorba Linda protest at which she drove her white Nissan through a crowd of counter-protesters.  District Attorney Todd Spitzer, in a (possibly politically motivated) example of the “over-charging” he had promised not to do, is still charging her with attempted murder for this incident, along with twelve other arguable felonies – although to many of us Tatiana’s driving her car forward through a threatening crowd looked more like panicked self-defense.

This’ll be a longer-than-usual preliminary hearing, much to the irritation of Judge Beatriz Gordon – prosecutor Israel Claustro had originally estimated that questioning his 13 witnesses would take six hours; now he estimates it’ll take two-and-a-half days, finishing up Thursday at noon.  Tatiana’s public defender, Alisha Montoro, has never seen a “preliminary hearing” with so many witnesses, testifying so extensively.  We got through six of ’em today, but by far the most time was spent with one of the two people who were actually injured by Tatiana – Brian Willis, whose leg was broken.

Brian bending over to photograph Tatiana’s license plate – at the same moment that someone kicks the back of her car HARD and she panics and drives forward. Bad timing!

Brian’s a real angry-looking guy – well, you’d be angry too if somebody broke your leg, but he has the tense face of someone who’s been angry for years or decades.  But especially now, and especially at Tatiana.  His first impression of the lady in the car that ran him over – his description to the police – was “a short Hispanic bitch.”  (I guess she could look Hispanic at a quick glance.)  And he has tried once or twice to get her address from law enforcement, although he denies it.

The Judge and attorneys eventually settled on the imprecise shorthand “Trump supporters vs BLM supporters” to describe the two sides that day.  In Brian’s telling there were about 200 of each, but more dependable sources have the Trumpies outnumbering the BLM’s nearly ten to one.  Brian also strained credulity by describing BLM as armed to the teeth, with batons, hockey sticks, pepper spray, shields, helmets, goggles… while claiming to have seen ZERO weapons on HIS side.

The same shirt Brian was wearing – you could own one too!

And Brian’s side was not simply “Trump supporters.”  It was like pulling teeth for Ms. Montoro to get him to describe and explain the shirt he was wearing, till he finally blurted out that it was a “THREE PERCENTER SHIRT” like the one to the right.  Wikipedia describes the Three-Percenters as “an American far-right, anti-government militia movement, which advocates gun ownership rights and resistance to the U.S. federal government.”  Funny choice for a guy claiming none of his buddies were armed.

In any case the folks opposed to BLM were originally lined up on the OTHER side of the street, the south side of Imperial Highway, while the BLM folks were on the north side, in the library parking lot, hoping to have a peaceful march.  The OC Sheriffs, who didn’t do much to keep the peace, instructed the Trumpies to stay on their side, but as soon as they had a chance they crossed over and into the library lot.  So…

Why did the Trumpies Cross the Road?

“Got it!”  That redhead behind Brian is Danielle Lindgren – the other Trumpy to get injured, who’s been charged with carrying a billy club, and whom we’ll meet soon.

Brian’s explanation of why he and hundreds of others crossed over to the library parking lot was:  TO PROTECT YORBA LINDA.  “We had intelligence,” he claimed, “that BLM was planning to march through my town, and destroy things.”  Later he contended, as though stating common knowledge, “OF COURSE Black Lives Matter are violent and destructive.”

One of the first things the observant Brian saw in the library lot was Tatiana’s white Nissan “staged” there.  A weird and loaded word, for a parked car, and DA Spitzer uses it too.  Do we stage our cars every time we park them?  It makes it sound like she planned to have her car surrounded so she could run over some Trumpies!  If it was staged, parked differently from the other cars, it could just as well have been “staged” to make a quick exit if things went bad as they did.

Then Brian saw the owner of the Nissan, Tatiana herself.  He claims he saw her pepper spraying an elderly man, and waving around a stick.  Then, he admits, he yelled at her, “Hit ME with that stick!”, probably in some defiant, I-dare-you-to tone.

But Alisha the PD kept wanting to know, how exactly were Brian and his hundreds of Trump-supporting friends planning to keep Tatiana and her friends from marching down Imperial Highway that day, a scenario of certain devastation?  Well, said Brian, simply, we were just not going to let them “cross through our line.”  “You had created a line?”  “It just developed naturally.”  Brian insisted that, even though shouts, screams, pushes, shoves, and the occasional racial epithet were flying back and forth, his comrades would never have done anything violent, but stand there impassive and immovable like so many civil rights pioneers.

Brian further stretched credulity, when asked if he had taken any video that day, by saying he really didn’t remember.  Do you believe that?  He remembers everything else about that day, before and after having his leg broken, but not whether or not he took a video?  Don’t you rather think that the video or videos he took shows things he doesn’t want us to see?

Tomorrow, or soon, we will meet the other counter-protester injured by Tatiana’s car – that’s Danielle Lindgren  You can see that redhead standing behind Brian in a picture above, wearing a MAGA hat.  Brian says he neither knew nor saw her (though they are great friends now), which is convenient as her misdemeanor charge for carrying a billy club kind of ruins his story that only the other side was armed.

We shall continue our coverage tomorrow, and I think we’ll be hearing soon from not only Danielle, but the legendary Mick “Florio” Sobczak, and if you’ve forgotten who that is, here’s a refresher:

Read Part 2: “SHERIFFS WITH AMNESIA” (and much more!)

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer 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 vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.