As hate crimes rise in LA, new report says 'hard left' actions also pose threat

Violent clashes and arrests as a result of political intolerance increased in 2016 on California college campuses and at pro-Trump rallies, as did far-left extremism that could lead to more civil conflicts, researchers concluded in a report presented this week to Los Angeles County officials.

Frayed race relations, demographic changes and political divisions along with distrust in institutions and the democratic process all contributed to the rise of hate crimes and extremism, said Brian Levin, a terrorism expert and professor at Cal State San Bernardino who authored the report. He presented it this week in West Hollywood during a quarterly meeting of Los Angeles County’s Network Against Hate Crime.

“The hard left now poses a distinct threat to the maintenance of free speech on some California campuses, like UC Berkeley, owing to their swarming of campuses featuring bigoted or controversial speakers,” Levin said in the report. Politics and a heated election year also led to more hate crimes and civil conflicts in some of California’s largest cities last year compared with 2015, he added.

• RELATED STORY: Trump supporters demand hate crime probe after clashes at LA, OC rallies

Last June, 14 people were injured and 106 people faced charges as a result of a clash in Sacramento between groups who describe themselves as Alt-Right, skinheads and the self-described anti-fascist group Antifa.

Assaults, vandalism and derogatory remarks based on politics…

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