Police in West Hollywood, California, unwittingly became part of a Pride event spectacle after a local activist, who had an outstanding warrant against him, was arrested alongside his friend who supposedly tried to run interference for him.
Last weekend, the streets of West Hollywood were lined with tables and booths for the city’s annual Pride festivities, which culminated in a parade on Sunday. However, one of the local volunteers who arrived at the event on Saturday morning wasn’t allowed to return home later that day after he was arrested on suspicion of a robbery which took place in April.
Hunter Lee Darling, a 24-year-old man who prefers the name “Zodiac Rose,” was arrested after police spotted him in the crowd. According to reports, on April 15, Darling had stolen an individual’s cell phone and repeatedly stomped on it outside the West Hollywood Library, where a drag queen story hour was being held inside. A portion of the robbery incident was caught on video:
During his arrest on Saturday, Darling caused considerable commotion, yelling and accusing someone — either an arresting officer or perhaps his alleged victim — of homophobia. “He was laughing at something homophobic!” Darling growled as he was pinned to the ground. “He was being homophobic! He was laughing at liberation signs! I told him he shouldn’t be there!”
That arrest was also caught on video and shared on social media by Jordan David, who sympathizes with Darling’s cause. According to David, “The Sheriffs were making fun of the booth” and then filed “bogus charges” against “3 queer volunteers.” “This is why we don’t like cops at Pride,” the volunteers said, according to David’s tweet thread.
Darling was charged with robbery, vandalism, and battery. He has since been booked into a local jail and held on $100,000 bond. Inmate records list him as a Hispanic male. As of Monday afternoon, he remains in custody.
In addition to Darling, another local volunteer was also arrested at the event. Abby Nicole Thomas, 28, whom police identified as Darling’s “friend,” was put in handcuffs after she allegedly attempted to interfere with Darling’s arrest. She, too, made a scene, claiming that she was “scared” on Darling’s behalf and that police were arresting her “for literally no reason.” David alleged that one of Thomas’ earring had been “ripped out” during the encounter.
Thomas was “booked for interfering and obstructing an arrest,” the police report stated, though she has since been released. Both Thomas and Darling are expected to appear in court on Tuesday. The police report did not mention a third arrestee, as alleged by David.
David further reported that the “people the cops brutalized and arrested” on Saturday — ostensibly referring to Thomas and Darling — had been involved in a heated clash at an elementary school the day before. Some angry parents whose children attend Saticoy Elementary in North Hollywood gathered at the school to protest an LGBTQ curriculum which had allegedly been implemented there. Many LGBTQ activists, supposedly including Thomas and Darling as well as members of Antifa, arrived to counterprotest the Glendale Unified School District Parents’ Voices. The two sides eventually traded blows, though it is unclear whether any of the participants were injured as a result. One person was reportedly arrested.
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