Santa Monica police say race and politics weren’t the motive in stabbing of alt-right bodyguard
By Gary Walker
The stabbing of Antonio Foreman outside a downtown Santa Monica parking structure is not being treated as a hate crime and does not appear to have been motivated by Foreman’s association with the alt-right movement, according to Santa Monica police.
Foreman, a friend and occasional bodyguard for alt-right figure Tim Gionet (aka “Baked Alaska”), suffered multiple stab wounds to the abdomen at around 11 p.m. on June 17 a short distance west of Tongva Park.
Gionet, formerly a writer for Buzzfeed, has tweeted that both he and Foreman are members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right antigovernment group associated with the patriot and militia movements. The Southern Poverty Law Center ties the Oath Keepers to racist conspiracy theories associated with white supremacist ideology and labels founder Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes as a known extremist.
On June 23, a post on oathkeepers.org attributed to Rhodes identifies Foreman as a security volunteer for one of the group’s rallies in Berkeley (the group was there in April after the cancellation of a speech by conservative commentator Ann Coulter at UC Berkeley) and directs readers to a fundraising page to assist Foreman with medical costs.
A preliminary investigation by Santa Monica police determined that Foreman and the two stabbing suspects began arguing while exiting the city parking garage on Colorado and Ocean avenues. Out on Colorado, Foreman’s vehicle stopped abruptly in front of the suspects’ vehicle. All three men exited their cars, leading to the physical altercation in which Foreman was stabbed. The other men fled the scene.
Police later arrested Edgar Khodzhasaryan, 30, of Glendale and Arsen Bekverdyan, 31, of Burbank at UCLA Medical Center, where they were seeking treatment. Both men face assault and attempted murder charges and have
since posted bail. A court hearing is set for July 17 at the Airport Courthouse in Westchester.
Foreman remains hospitalized but in stable condition, Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez said.
“We have not received any information indicating the incident was racially or politically motivated. Therefore, hate crime charges have not been filed or presented to the district attorney’s
office,” Rodriguez said.
Results of the police investigation differ from Gionet’s statements on twitter that the attack was racially motivated, including one that reads: “LAPD detective tells me the last thing that Tony heard before blacking out was ‘You’re getting the shank, white boy.”
Rodriguez said he could not confirm Gionet’s claims and reiterated that Santa Monica police, not LAPD, are handling the case.
Police are asking anyone with additional information about the stabbing to call Det. Derek Leone at (310) 458-8949 or Sgt. Maury Sumlin at (310) 458-8437.