Kyle Chapman, seen here at a March 4 political rally in Berkeley, has been charged with possession of a leaded stick at that event. Photo: Daniel McPartlan

Kyle Chapman, a prominent figure at this year’s far-right rallies in Berkeley, has been charged with felony possession of a leaded stick at one of the protests.

The Alameda County district attorney filed the charge Wednesday. He is not currently in custody, according to the office.

Photos and videos of the March 4 rally in Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley show Chapman, 41, wielding a stick and hitting anti-fascist counter-demonstrators with it. The actions earned him the nickname “Based Stickman” among supporters, who have created memes and comics featuring Chapman, and donated tens of thousands of dollars to his cause.

Chapman, who lives in Daly City, was arrested after the March 4 rally on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He was arrested again in early April, for reportedly getting into a fight with a skateboarder in downtown Berkeley while filming a promotional video for a future rally.

In the probable cause report, provided by the district attorney’s office, a Berkeley Police Department officer described seeing Chapman, via video, spray what looked like pepper spray into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, then later swing a stick at other protesters.

He “was involved with multiple altercations with many people,” the report said. The officer also wrote that he saw Chapman walk by the police station during the riot, holding the stick, which was later seized during his arrest.

After reviewing footage from the rally, it became “clear that Chapman was in possession of a piece of wood that had been fashioned and carried as a weapon,” the report said.

Chapman’s arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 25. He could go to prison for up to a year if convicted and would be ineligible for probation due to prior convictions.

In a series of tweets Thursday night, Chapman called the charge “horse shit” and “state led intimidation.”

“To the Alameda county D.A., I’m ready to go to jail for this movement. I’m ready do do [sic] a lot more than that…,” he wrote.

The March 4 rally was the first of three to take place in Civic Center Park so far this year. In each case, protesters, including supporters of Donald Trump, civilian militia and white supremacists, held demonstrations in the name of freedom of speech. Masked antifa counter-demonstrators and others showed up to two of the events, resulting in a number of bloody fights.

Chapman and others have said they plan to return to the park on Sunday, Aug. 27, for a “No to Marxism” rally.

“We can not submit and give the left another win. Berekley [sic] is the most important Battle ground in the country,” Chapman wrote on Facebook, calling on his supporters to join him there.

This story was updated as new information became available. 

Natalie Orenstein

Natalie Orenstein reports on housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. Natalie was a Berkeleyside staff reporter from early 2017 to May 2020. She had previously contributed to the site since 2012,...