ANDY NGO REPORTS: Receipts, weapons and chat logs: Trail of evidence against violent Los Angeles Antifa suspect

Los Angeles Antifa member Faraz Martin Talab, 28, appeared in court on Monday exactly two years after he allegedly assaulted multiple people during an Antifa riot in San Diego, Calif.

Andy Ngo and Eva Knott San Diego CA
SAN DIEGO—Los Angeles Antifa member Faraz Martin Talab, 28, appeared in court on Monday exactly two years after he allegedly assaulted multiple people during an Antifa riot in San Diego, Calif.

The Jan. 9, 2021 riot at Pacific Beach has resulted in 11 indictments of Antifa members from southern California, six of whom have already been convicted.

At the pre-trial hearing on Monday, Talab repeated his not-guilty plea to six felonies. His charges include conspiracy to riot with ten other Antifa defendants, plus five assaults on five different victims.

Those victimized at the Pacific Beach Antifa riot include minors, a journalist, Donald Trump supporters, random beach bystanders and a dog. 

Talab, who has been out on bond, was before superior court judge Daniel Goldstein for less than a minute, just long enough for his attorney and San Diego County prosecutor Makenzie Harvey to agree to his next court date of Jan. 30.

Six other Antifa co-defendants have already made plea deals last year. Trans Antifa rioter and convicted domestic abuser Erich “Nikki” Yach is now in a California prison serving his sentence of nearly five years after he admitted to multiple felony assaults in court last September. Yach was the only defendant held in custody after his initial arrest in December 2021, likely because of his multiple active felony cases in the county.

Antifa rioter and convicted domestic abuser Erich ‘Nikki’ Yach was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for his role in the riot and other crimes

The five defendants who already pleaded guilty and are waiting sentencing are: Christian Martinez, 24, Bryan Rivera, 21, Alexander Akridge-Jacobs, 32, Samuel Howard Ogden, 25, and Joseph Austin Gaskins, 22. These defendants are expected to be sentenced on March 1.

Convicted violent Antifa members from left to right: Christian Martinez, Bryan Rivera, Alexander Akridge-Jacobs, Samuel Howard Ogden and Joseph Austin Gaskins

The evidence against Faraz Martin Talab

According to video and photographic evidence presented before the grand jury in May 2022 by multiple investigators on behalf of prosecutors, Talab was seen throughout the riot with his black hair pulled into a bun on top of his head, and a black bandana across his forehead. The suspect identified as Talab wore a black jacket with a Northface logo, and distinctive black shoes with white bottoms and white Under Armour logos on the sides. 

Prosecutors presented photographic evidence alleging suspect Faraz Martin Talab (right) is the masked man at the Antifa riot

When police later served a search warrant at Talab’s home in the 2900 block of Sunnynook Drive in Los Angeles, they collected matching clothing items. Other evidence seized from his home include a backpack that had black goggles, a folding knife, bear mace and a large bicycle lock.

In one evidence photo, the suspect identified as Talab is seen standing behind an Antifa flag with another defendant, Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., according to testimony by investigator Jonah Conley. After the riot, this photo was allegedly sent by Talab through his Instagram account to co-defendant Lightfoot. 

“You can see that it is Brian Lightfoot in the front holding the corner of a red Antifa flag, and behind him is Christian Martinez, and then behind him is Martin Talab,” investigator Conley told the grand jury.

Prosecutors say the suspect on the left is co-defendant Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., while the man with the hair bun is Faraz Martin Talab. The man in the center with the helmet is Christian Martinez

Charged as “incident number 4” in the indictment, Talab is seen in evidence video standing on the grass with his hands out preventing someone who tried to help female victim “M.A.” The female victim is seen huddled on the ground, trying to protect her head, while she is being swarmed by Antifa rioters. 

Prosecutor Mackenzie Harvey told the grand jury: “That is aiding and abetting.” She said Talab intended to prevent people from stopping the attack, and the female victim endured kicking, punching and beatings. Harvey said Talab was an abettor and that “the law says you’re on the hook, too.” 

San Diego County investigator Jonah Conley testified that Talab offered to drive his Antifa comrades from Los Angeles to San Diego. (Conley researched communications between the suspects.) The morning of the riot, Talab allegedly stopped his Prius at a BIG 5 Sporting Goods store in Long Beach and bought four cans of Sabre brand pepper spray. The receipt was printed out at 10:45 a.m. on Jan. 9, 2021.

When they later searched Talab’s vehicle, officers found a gray Hurley face covering and an expandable baton that was wedged between the passenger seat and the center console.  

Investigators claim that the day before the riot, Talab put out a flier to his Antifa associates offering riot training at MacArthur Park, which is about five miles from his home.

Another investigator for prosecutors, Elvys Cabrera, further testified about Talab’s social media and online communications.

Talab allegedly sent a message to co-defendants Brian Lightfoot, Christian Martinez and Luis Mora: "San Diego tomorrow, Saturday, January 9th at 1 p.m., Pacific Beach Pier.” During their back-and-forth communications, Talab allegedly stated, “We’re professional Antifa.”

Three days after the riot, Talab had further communications on Instagram with others in his Antifa group. They allegedly discussed branding a Proud Boy with “Antifa on their chest.”

Talab also allegedly bragged about his crimes at the riot. “I wish there was video where we took that CHUD’s bike, slashed his tires and put it in the dumpster.” In another message Talab sent out on his social media, he wrote, "I was like in war mode.”

Prosecutors have argued that Talab should serve prison time for any new felony conviction, suggesting that he has a prior criminal record in another jurisdiction. 

At his next hearing later this month, Talab will be in court with four of his Antifa co-defendants: Brian Cortez Lightfoot, Jr., 26, Luis Francisco Mora, 31, Jeremy Jonathan White, 40, and Jesse Merel Cannon, 32. These are the last Antifa defendants who have not made a plea deal yet. They have a trial date set for April 3.

Faraz Martin Talab is scheduled to go on trial with Antifa co-defendants (from left to right) Brian Cortez Lightfoot, Jr., Luis Francisco Mora, Jeremy Jonathan White and Jesse Merel Cannon 


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