Jacob Daniel Bracken, 38, of Rancho Cucamonga, faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon related to the incident in Upland on Monday, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said.
Even though Bracken did not fire the rifle and no one was injured, Upland Police Chief Darren Goodman explained the assault charge: “You point the weapon at someone with the intent to intimidate and the weapon being loaded itself.”
One video shared by a KNBC reporter at the scene showed Bracken take the AR-15 out of a pickup truck, yelling for the crowd to “back the f--- up.”
Goodman said they have videos as well as still photos that “conclusively showed” Bracken pointing the weapon at some point.
“On June 1, 2020, the Upland Police Department was monitoring a peaceful protest in their city. The police officers were notified by protestors of a potentially life-threatening incident. The officers immediately investigated the incident. Bracken was arrested by the Upland Police Department, and the case was forwarded to our office for filing consideration,” the district attorney’s office said.
“This incident was captured on video by the peaceful protestors who cooperated with law enforcement, which is encouraging to the community. Thankfully, through the restraint of the protestors and the swift investigation by the Upland Police Department, a potential tragedy may have been avoided," the office said.
Videos of the scene at Euclid Avenue and Foothill Boulevard showed a large crowd of protesters on one side of the street, and a smaller group of men on the other holding American flags. One man with a flag crossed the street and appeared to engage with the protesters before the group advanced toward him and the lawn of a residential house.
That’s when Bracken, standing in the home’s driveway, is seen pulling out the AR-15. Bracken does not live at the house in the footage, according to KNBC.
A protester who witnessed the incident said he felt “nothing but hate and racism.”
“We’re just here to peacefully protest and you don’t want to take anything further. You don’t know what these people are capable of,” the man, with his face covered by a black bandana, said.
The reporter at the scene interviewed another man, who identified himself as an acquaintance of Bracken. He said he felt outnumbered by the protesters.
“Look at this situation: 200 against seven people,” he said.
Other videos showed police officers in the middle of the street separating the two groups. Lingering protesters are later seen shaking hands and hugging officers as the crowd dispersed.
“There’s no attempt to make an example. The example is simply we follow the rule of law and that applies to everybody. What this person did was unacceptable,” Goodman, who is black, said.
“I would hope people can accept differences of opinion and different views without taking a violent position. Just like I hope the protesters can learn to continue to be peaceful in their protests and not destroy property,” the chief said.
The Upland Police Department said that after the 6 p.m. curfew passed, while some protesters left, others stayed and refused to comply with the command to disperse. Several officers were pushed by protesters, and rocks and bottles were thrown at officers. Officers deployed pepper balls and two sting balls to push the crowd back before it ultimately dispersed without other arrests.