A beloved figure of the alt-right known for allegedly wielding a stick at a Berkeley rally is apparently turning his back on that identity, entering a plea of not guilty in court Tuesday on charges of, you guessed it, wielding a stick at a Berkeley rally.
We're talking, of course, about conservative darling and Daly City resident Kyle Chapman, a man whose reputation is so stick-based that his admitted nickname is "Based Stickman." As you likely recall, a warrant for the 41-year-old Chapman's was issued following a violent March 4 rally in Berkeley in which he wore a bicycle helmet and gas mask, carrying a stick and a shield with an American flag on it. At the rally, he "was filmed cracking the weapon over the heads of a masked antifa and other counter-demonstrators," the East Bay Express reported at the time.
Chapman, who was described by a former attorney as having "severe psychological problems," returned to the Berkeley fray for an April 15 street battle, and was scooped up on that March warrant at that time.
In late August, a judge ordered Chapman into custody on $135,000 bail, bail he managed to post that same evening, on the condition that he will "not own, use or possess any dangerous weapons, including pepper spray, brass knuckles, wooden sticks," NBC Bay Area reported at the time, a condition that would make the business he launched with Berkeley rally organizer/canceler Amber Gwen Cummings to reportedly sell autographed sticks a great deal more difficult.
But perhaps the Stickman is not the stick man after all! For as reported by ABC 7, Chapman appeared in Alameda County Superior Court and entered a plea of not guilty.
He "then walked out with his attorney. Chapman said he had no comment; his attorney said he couldn't comment on the case because he doesn't have much information yet."
CBS 5 reports that Berkeley Police Officer Darrin Rafferty begs to differ regarding Chapman's guilt, writing in a probable cause statement that:
At about 3:05 p.m. on March 4, a man later identified as Chapman who was wearing a black baseball helmet, goggles and a backpack with metal buckles sprayed what appeared to be pepper spray into a crowd of protesters that Chapman’s group had been arguing with, according to Rafferty.
A short time later “Chapman was involved in multiple altercations with many people” and “was swinging what appeared to be a wooden stick at many people,” Rafferty wrote.
However, Rafferty wrote that it was unclear if Chapman hit anyone because the camera didn’t stay focused on him during the altercation.
Rafferty wrote that after he reviewed videos of the clash at the rally, “it is clear that Chapman was in possession of a piece of wood that had been fashioned and carried as a weapon.”
He wrote, “Specifically he had a large stick with two small American flags attached to it.”
In a video posted to Facebook this July, Chapman, who's described the charges as "trumped up" and "bogus" in a Facebook post, discussed the "war against whites in Western society," referred to the "three battles" in Berkeley, and said that the only way the country will be saved is if "patriots" are willing to do physical battle in the streets and risk their lives.
With two prior convictions under his belt — One for grand theft in San Diego County in 2001 and one for robbery in Texas in 1993 — if convicted Chapman might be facing a jail sentence as long as one year under California's three-strikes law. He's expected to return to court on October 12.