Fresno council head cited for battery after allegedly shoving protestors who showed up at his home to oppose shelter-in-place order

California

The president of the Fresno City Council was cited for misdemeanor battery after allegedly shoving protesters who showed up at his apartment to oppose the city’s shelter-in-place order against the coronavirus.

Miguel Arias was given three citations after Tuesday afternoon’s confrontation with protesters on his doorstep.

Video from protesters shows Arias pushing people on a stairwell to his upstairs apartment.

He was cited after a citizen’s arrest and the video will be part of the investigation, police said.

Nobody was injured, police Lt. Anthony DeWall told the Fresno Bee.

Arias told the paper that his two children were inside, that he has been inundated with online threats in recent weeks.

“They went from making a political statement to physically threatening the safety of my own family, and that was not going to be tolerated,” he said.

One of the demonstrators was Ben Bergquam, who organized a City Hall rally against the order last week that drew several hundred people.

“There are business owners who are losing everything and we just wanted to ask him a couple of questions,” said Bergquam, according to KABC-TV. “As I was saying that, he comes out of the apartment, grabs me by the arms, and tried to throw me down the stairs.”

Garry Bredefeld, the only City Council member to call for lifting the shelter-in-place order, condemned the protestors’ behavior as “outrageous.”

“This crossed the line of decency and was potentially dangerous for the safety of Miguel and his family,” he said in a social media posting.

After the confrontation, about two dozen protesters went to the home of Mayor Lee Brand, who recently extended the shelter-in-place order to May 31.

In a statement, Brand said there was “a peaceful discussion on my sidewalk” and the protesters left.

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