Former SFSU grad student arrested for alleged bike lock attack at Berkeley riot

A former San Francisco State University graduate student who taught some classes at the university was arrested Wednesday by Berkeley police for allegedly attacking President Donald Trump supporters with a bike lock during a riots that broke out in Berkeley earlier this year.

Eric Clanton, who was a teaching assistant at SFSU while he attended as a graduate student from 2013 to 2015, was arrested and booked into Alameda County Jail on Wednesday. Clanton allegedly attacked someone with a bike lock while Clanton carried a firearm at a protest in Berkeley’s Civic Center Park on April 15.

“Some of these assaults were captured on video and viewed heavily on social media. In the assaults, Clanton was seen striking people in the head with a U-shaped bicycle lock, causing significant injuries to the victims,” Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel wrote in a statement.

Clanton, 28, was arrested at his Oakland residence, said Frankel, who noted that a number of other investigations continue in connection to the violence.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the police reports in the case, but have yet to decide whether to charge Clanton, said Teresa Drenick, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office.

Clanton lives in Oakland, but is still registered to vote in San Francisco, even though his registration has gone inactive, according to The City’s Registrar of Voters.

Clanton recently taught philosophy at Diablo Valley College in Contra Costa County.

J. Elizabeth Smith, an SFSU spokesperson, said Clanton taught while he was a graduate student.

“Clanton received a Master of Arts in Philosophy in May 2015 and was employed during his time as a student,” she wrote in a statement. “He was an Instructional Student Assistant in the Philosophy Department for one semester during spring semester 2013 and also worked for three semesters as a Graduate Teaching Associate in the Philosophy Department from August 2013 until January 2015.”

The violence at the rally-turned-riot (one of three so far this year) was committed by Trump supporters, alt-right protesters and their left-wing and Antifa (anti-fascist) opponents.

In fact, a prominent alt-right activist was captured on cellphone footage punching a left-wing female protester. Frankel said the woman in that case has refused to cooperate, which means it may be harder to convict the person who is alleged to have committed the crime, he said.

Frankel said 21 people have been arrested in connection to violence April 15, but the BPD does not keep count of anyone’s political affiliation.

“We arrested people that we believe were guilty of having committed a criminal act. Political affiliation isn’t something we’re concerned about when we are booking,” he said.


Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink

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