Update: LB activist pleads not guilty to charges of attempted murder in Yorba Linda protest

Caution: The videos contain graphic content and strong language.

A 40-year-old Long Beach woman was charged Tuesday, Sept. 29 with attempted murder and multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly driving her car into a group of Trump supporters in Yorba Linda last weekend.

Tatiana ‘Tia’ Turner was charged with attempted murder with a sentencing enhancement for attempted premeditated murder, making it a potential life-sentence case. She is also charged with six counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a count of mayhem and two counts of illegal use of tear gas, all felonies.

She faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted at trial. Seven victims were listed in the criminal complaint.

Turner allegedly waved a baton at protesters before she is accused of driving through the crowd, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Turner pleaded not guilty Tuesday at her arraignment in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana. She was ordered to return to court Oct. 28 for a pretrial hearing in the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

The incident happened during a Saturday afternoon “March 4 Equality” against police violence and systemic racism at a Yorba Linda Public Library parking lot.

Down the street at the intersection of Imperial Highway. and Yorba Linda Boulevard, a much larger group of counter protesters in support of President Donald Trump, who waved American flags and held pro-Trump signs, had also organized.

Shortly after, at about 2:30pm, the Trump counter protesters made their way down to the library parking lot where the March 4 Equality protesters had been rallying at initially.

The clashing escalated as the Trump counter protesters began flashing white power signs with their hands and demanding that the March 4 Equality protesters tell them what nationality they were before yelling at them to “go back”. Another Trump counter protester yelled at a March 4 Equality protester with a shield, “That won’t stop what I have in my hand.” An estimated 250 individuals were involved.

According to an Orange County Sheriff’s Department press release, due to reports of physical altercations occurring between the two protest groups and reports of individuals within the crowd having weapons, the demonstration was declared an unlawful assembly at 2:40 p.m. and police ordered everyone to leave the area.

Tatiana “Tia” Turner, an activist from Long Beach who is the founder and organizer for the grassroots organization “Caravan 4 Justice” — a car-based protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement that is dedicated to educating, organizing and mobilizing the community for change — was exiting the Yorba Linda Public Library parking lot when she allegedly drove her compact car through an intersection and struck two counter-protesters, a man and woman.

On videos of the incident that surfaced online, it showed a massive amount of Trump counter protesters had surrounded Turner’s car as she got in it and began pounding on her vehicle. The man who was struck, who has not been identified could be seen in the video that prior to being hit, he was standing stagnant in front of Turner’s car with his cellphone in hand recording Turner and her vehicle.

It was then that Turner accelerated briefly before stopping and accelerating again as counter protesters began throwing objects including flagpoles at her vehicle, striking and shattering through her rear window as she was being chased by the Trump counter protesters before being detained by the sheriffs.

“The man suffered two broken legs and the woman had major injuries,” Sgt. Dennis Breckner said. Both were transported to a hospital for treatment of their injuries and are expected to survive.

Turner was being held on $1 million bail before her scheduled appearance in court on Tuesday, according to Orange County jail records.

The Urban Organizers Coalition who organized the March 4 Equality released a statement after the incident, “Urban Organizers Coalition (UOC), a group of grassroots organizers, participated in the March for Equality event on Saturday, September 26 in Yorba Linda. With regards to the event, our heartfelt sympathies are with those who were injured at the rally. The details of this event are currently being investigated and UOC will issue another public statement once we have additional information.”

A 47-year-old Yorba Linda man at the protest, who would only give his name as Mike because he feared Antifa-leaning elements might seek to harm him, told City News Service that he’s been getting together with a group of several dozen other locals every other week for patriotic rallies.

He claimed he personally saw three Trump supporters injured by the car that was hemmed in and trying to drive away. But he also said the “Make America Great Again” demonstrators had been harassing Turner, causing the panicked look on her face.

“They started to pound on her car,” he said, while clutching a carefully rolled up American flag. “It took damage.”

Mike told CNS he witnessed one female counter-protester get swept under the vehicle, as well as a male counter-protester who suffered an ankle injury. He said another male counter-protester suffered minor abrasions.

Turner has been on the frontlines for multiple protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and systemic racism. She organized Caravan 4 Justice after the George Floyd protest as a COVID-safe way for people to participate in protests against police brutality by not having to leave their vehicles.

What happened to Turner is a stark contrast in comparison to two similar incidents in Hollywood on Thursday, Sept. 24 where two cars including a large black truck and a white Prius ran through BLM protesters, leaving two people hospitalized. The Los Angeles Police Department detained and quickly released both drivers.

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