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Ex-California police chief, 5 others charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot


La Habra Police Chief Alan Hostetter has his badge pinned on by his son as his wife, Wendy, looks on during Hostetter’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, January 28, 2010. (Photo by Lou Ponsi, Orange County Register/SCNG) 

Hostetter and Taylor

Former La Habra police chief and Stop the Steal organizer Alan Hostetter, his partner in putting together Orange County rallies and four men accused of being involved in the Three Percenters militia were charged Thursday, June 10 for their suspected roles in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Hostetter, 56, who also led local protests against coronavirus pandemic restrictions, is a yoga instructor who took a medical retirement in 2010 after eight months leading the La Habra Police Department. Before becoming chief in La Habra, he was deputy chief in Fontana.

The grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday also names Russell Taylor, 40,  of Ladera Ranch; Erik Scott Warner, 45, of Menifee; Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, 47, of Lake Elsinore, Derek Kinnison, 39, of Lake Elsinore; and Ronald Mele, 51 of Temecula.

Hostetter, a San Clemente resident, and the five other men are facing several federal charges, including conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds. Taylor is also charged with obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, while Warner and Kinnison are charged with tampering with documents or proceedings, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors say Hostetter communicated to followers through encryptions on Telegram – an online messaging app – and was filmed in videos advocating “executions …  at the highest levels.”

Hostetter, in a blue blazer, baggy jeans and tan boots, with his hair pulled back into a short ponytail, sauntered into the courtroom in federal court in Santa Ana just after 2 p.m., flanked by a federal marshal. As soon as he entered, he looked at supporters in the gallery and winked.

Bilal Essayli, an attorney for Hostetter, said the former police chief turned himself in to the FBI after he was indicted.

Prosecutors in court documents alleged Hostetter was part of the crowd surging forward on the Capitol steps on Jan. 6. He is not accused of entering the building or carrying a firearm but charging documents show prosecutors believe Hostetter had “other items” that would have violated rules for the Capitol grounds.

Essayli said while his client was on the steps he did not see other protesters sparring with Capitol police across metal barricades at the bottom of the steps moments earlier.

“He’s a peaceful protestor,” Essayli said outside the courtroom. “He’s an activist.”

During an FBI raid on his home earlier this year, Hostetter told agents he had firearms. None were taken from his home during the search. Essayli argued in court Thursday that Hostetter and his wife needed to keep several guns in their possession due to threats they’ve received after the Jan. 6 attack and subsequent press reports about the FBI raid. Hostetter and his wife had received at least five death threats through email and their phones since the raid.

A magistrate judge ruled Thursday that Hostettler could keep whatever guns he has inside his home and set his bail at $20,000.

Warner, Mele and Kinnison were also in custody and appeared in U.S. District Court in Riverside …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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