Man punches LGBTQ+ activist in head during violent brawl over school board’s Pride meeting

Glendale protest

New footage from a protest which turned violent outside a school board meeting shows a man repeatedly punching another person in the head.

On Tuesday (6 June), pro and anti-LGBTQ+ protesters clashed in Glendale, California as the Glendale Unified School District discussed recognising June as Pride Month. The motion was unanimously passed despite the brutal scenes outside. 

Hundreds of people turned out to both protest the agenda item and show their support, with LGBTQ+ activists and allies waving rainbow flags while opponents held American flags and wore t-shirts which read “leave our kids alone”. 

Reports have surfaced which suggest that a number of the anti-LGBTQ+ protesters were members of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys.

Footage and images shared widely on social media show members of both groups in North Jackson Street coming to violent blows, with people punching and kicking each other as law enforcement tried to calm the situation. 

A new video which was allegedly filmed by a member of the Glendale community shows a man, believed to be on the side of those opposing the school district’s inclusive policies, punching another person in the side of the head unprompted. 

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The footage shows people fighting as police officers attempt to pull them apart and during the furore, a man walks past a person holding a non-binary pride flag and hits them in the side of their head with his fist. 

Issuing a statement on Wednesday following the violence, the Glendale Police Department said the majority of the demonstrators were peaceful but a “small number” of people sought to cause trouble and disruption. 

It is currently unclear who started the violence. 

Police arrested three people at the event on various charges, including unlawful use of pepper spray and wilfully obstructing officers in their line of duty. 

Officers eventually issued a dispersal order just after 6pm as the protest eventually exceeded the “bounds of peaceful assemble”. 

Inside the school board meeting, the public comment section was cut short by police due to what was happening outside the building, with officers giving attendees instructions not to leave for a short period for their own safety. 

Prior to it being halted, parents expressed views on both sides of the matter, although a majority were in support of LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and curriculum. 

“I’ve never spoken before, but as an actual parent, I felt that I had to be here because a lot of the opposing people don’t believe that I exist,” one parent quoted by the Los Angeles Times said, explaining that she was grateful for LGBTQ+ inclusion as her child had faced discrimination for being queer.

Before the meeting took place, the school district was forced to release a statement clarifying the situation, as misinformation had been shared about what pupils are being taught and how the school’s LGBTQ+ policies work in practice. 

On social media, the school district linked to a document which outlined what students are taught, as well as wider policies in regards to the rights of trans pupils, such as the use of pronouns and access to spaces such as locker rooms. 

Pro and anti-LGBTQ+ protesters clashed in Glendale, California. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In a press release on Wednesday (7 June), the Glendale Police Department said: “The Glendale Police Department acknowledges and respects the right of individuals to peacefully assemble and express their opinions.

“We encourage continued open dialogue and constructive engagement with community members. 

“The Glendale Police Department remains committed to fostering positive relationships and working collaboratively with community leaders and organizations to address concerns and find common ground.” 

The Glendale Unified School District told PinkNews it is “committed” to providing a “safe, inclusive environment where every child can learn and thrive”. 

A spokesperson said: “We follow all laws and policies established by the California legislature and Department of Education. 

“We know that kids do better when their parents are involved in their education. We work with parents as partners and encourage all parents and other caregivers to be inquisitive and engaged with what is going on in our school community. 

“Let’s continue to work together, commit to having difficult conversations, ask questions, and maintain a civil discourse for the benefit of all students.”

The Glendale Police Department has been contacted for comment.