A man who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat during a demonstration at the Santa Monica Pier has been charged after allegedly spraying protesters with bear repellent over the weekend.
David Nicholas Dempsey, 32, of Sherman Oaks, faces one felony count of using tear gas and one misdemeanor count of unlawful tear gas activity, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He was previously convicted in 2006 and 2017 of second-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit commercial burglary and fleeing a police officer’s vehicle while driving recklessly.
Dempsey is accused of spraying the bear repellent into a crowd of anti- and pro-Trump protesters after a fight broke out between the two groups Saturday afternoon.
Video of the incident showed Dempsey arguing with protesters opposed to Donald Trump when he began spraying the crowd with a large canister of the repellent. At one point, he’s seen walking up to a man who was lying on the ground and spraying him directly in the face at close range.
Dempsey was pointed out by bystanders as the person who sprayed demonstrators and he was taken into custody at the scene.
No one was seriously injured in the incident.
As a convicted felon, he is barred from possessing pepper spray or any kind of tear gas weapons, police said.
Dempsey pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in connection with the incident.
He is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 5 to set a preliminary hearing date.
He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in jail, officials said.