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A conservative filmmaker and journalist says he was pummeled and “mowed to the ground” by an angry mob Sunday night in Oakland, Calif., during a protest of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Florida death of Trayvon Martin.
“I have interviews and I have footage of [Trayvon protestors] chanting ‘no justice, no peace – f— you pigs in your sleep,'” the beating victim, Christian Hartsock, told the Daily Caller. “One of them was an elementary schooler chanting with his mom.”
Hartsock initially arrived at 9:30 p.m. Pacific time to film the rally, but shortly afterward, he was told by two men to leave the public area.
Upon his refusal, the men allegedly became belligerent.
“After retreating to a corner to catch B-roll, two young men approached me and interrogated me as to what I was doing there,” Hartsock said. “I advised them I was just there to see what was going on. They told me to get out. I asked why, which only afforded more threats. I declined their request to leave, they continued marching.”
He continued, “The two young men came back up to me and told me to leave. I told them ‘no’ and asked them what their issue was. Then other ralliers, noticing the two young men’s belligerence toward me, assumed I must have been up to something, so they began to approach me too and ask me what my problem was. I explained that I didn’t have a problem and didn’t know why I was being suddenly questioned. Within seconds there was an entire circle around me, threats being leveled from every direction.”
“One young man chanted ‘There’s gonna be some violence tonight!'” Hartsock told the Daily Caller. “He then came up to me and demanded I erase the footage from my phone – another request I declined.”
“As two other young men interrogated me, their friend behind them came up and a young man then slugged me in the face about three times – hard – and demanded that I leave,” Hartsock said. “Then I began getting clocked by others in my left temple and jaw by other assailants and was mowed to the ground by about half a dozen of them.”
Hartsock admitted he feared the worst.
“For a couple minutes I was pinned down to the ground – one gentleman on top of me slugging me across the face repeatedly as an indeterminable number of others kicked me in the side of the head, and tried to get my phone out of my hand. … The harder my grip tightened, the harder their punches to my face became,” he said.
The journalist says he “eventually fought them off before they could get my camera, wallet and keys.”
He filed a police report, but told the Daily Caller he was surprised at the apparent lack of interest from both the police and local news media.
“My video didn’t capture the assault but the mob was trying to jack my camera and my wallet and keys.”
He indicated an ABC news van which had been parked within eyeshot of the confrontation, failed to record the assault.
“ABC news van less than 20 feet away, got NONE of it. Yeah, this is why we have to do you guys’ jobs for you and get paid in blood,” Hartsock posted on Facebook. “My face is swollen and I have a huge black eye.”
“I fought them off somehow – it was kind of miraculous,” Hartsock said.
Hartsock actually questioned the local TV news crew why they didn’t capture any of the beating on camera, and the station responded by merely recording Hartsock’s conversation with a police officer.
The station did make a brief mention of his allegation on during Sunday night’s newscast, with ABC Channel 7 reporter John Alston saying on the air, “Late tonight, a photographer reported to police that he was attacked by the crowd when he wandered into the middle of the group on Broadway [Street].”
Despite the racial overtones in the actual trial of Zimmerman, Hartsock says he doesn't see a racial angle in his assault.
"Some of my assailants were white. Some black, some mixed race. There were civilized people there who were black and very kind to me at first."
"I had no problems with anyone until two thugs came up to me and gave me sh--," he said. "Others got involved simply because they saw two thugs giving me sh-- and immediately [started] taking their side," he said.
"It turned into a Domino effect," says Hartsock. "It didn't matter what I had to say. Everyone decided the thing now was to pile up on me."