A lawyer says a woman who drove into counter-demonstrators at a Yorba Linda rally against racism had been surrounded by a hostile crowd and feared for her life.
Tatiana Turner, a 40-year-old Long Beach resident, pleaded not guilty at a court appearance Tuesday in Orange County.
She’s being held on $1 million bail on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. A bail hearing will be scheduled at a later date, court officials said.
A man and woman were seriously injured during the Saturday confrontation in Yorba Linda.
Orange County prosecutors said Turner deliberately drove into a crowd of President Donald Trump’s supporters with the intent to kill a woman. They allege she ran over the head of a woman and broke a man’s leg.
A defense lawyer says Turner was in fear for her life when she drove from a hostile crowd and never intended to harm anyone.
Turner and the Urban Organizers Coalition had organized a rally against police brutality and systemic racism near the Yorba Linda Library.
Some counterprotesters confronted Turner’s smaller group, and fights broke out.
Turner saw counterprotesters with firearms, called 911 for help and “got the runaround” before asking deputies patrolling area for help, attorney Ludlow Creary II said.
“Sheriff’s deputies on scene didn’t do anything and the crowd of Trump supporters grew,” Creary said. “It essentially was a hostile environment.”
A spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department says they will look into a claim that Turner sought help before driving into the crowd.