SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – A Sherman Oaks man and convicted felon is accused of spraying protesters with bear repellent at a political rally in Santa Monica last weekend.
David Nicholas Dempsey, 32, plead not guilty Tuesday to one felony count of use of tear gas, along with a misdemeanor count of unlawful tear gas activity, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reports.
On the afternoon of Oct. 19, Dempsey allegedly sprayed anti-Trump demonstrators with bear repellent while they were holding a rally at the Santa Monica Pier, prosecutors say.
Dempsey was part of a group of several dozen pro-Trump demonstrators who confronted the protesters, sparking a physical shoving match between the two sides.
According to Santa Monica police, several protesters and uninvolved pier visitors were hit by the spray. Dempsey was arrested at the scene. No one was seriously hurt.
The initial protest had been organized by the group Refuse Fascism.
According to the DA’s office, Dempsey has a criminal history dating back to 2016, with convictions for second-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit commercial burglary and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly.
If convicted as charged, he faces a maximum sentence of eight years in jail.