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Who is Riddhi Patel? Indian-American protestor arrested for threatening city council members

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

Bakersfield, CA, April 14, 2024: Riddhi Patel, a young pro-Palestinian protester, found themself entangled in a legal battle following threatening remarks directed at Bakersfield City Council members. Patel, 28, wept during the hearing as a deputy public defender entered not-guilty pleas on her behalf to eight counts of threatening a public official and 10 counts of making terroristic threats.

Now, the Indian American activist who identifies as non-binary faces a string of felony charges and a hefty bail amount.

The drama unfolded during a contentious session where tensions ran high over discussions regarding a Gaza ceasefire resolution. Patel, who identifies as non-binary, vehemently advocated for the resolution but expressed skepticism about its passage by the council.

“I remind you that these holidays that we practice, that other people in the global south practice, believe in violent revolution against their oppressors and I hope one day somebody brings the guillotine and kills all of you motherf ——,” Patel said.

Patel later addressed the council a second time, expressing outrage over the presence of metal detectors at the meeting. “In the last five years I’ve attended city council meetings there’s never been metal detectors, there’s never been more cops,” Patel said. “The only reason you’re doing it is because people actually don’t care if you guys don’t like them and they’re actually resisting so you’re trying to criminalize them.” We’ll see you at your house,” they added. “We’ll murder you.”

Mayor Karen Goh then stopped Patel, saying “that was a threat, what you said at the end, so officers are going to escort you out and take care of that.”

According to reports from local news outlets, Patel’s outburst was captured on video and widely circulated, leading to swift legal action. Court Commissioner Sally Ackerknecht, presiding over Patel’s arraignment, set a staggering $1 million bail and imposed strict orders, mandating Patel to stay away from city hall and maintain a considerable distance from council members and city officials.

The charges against Patel include eight counts of threatening a public official and ten counts of making terroristic threats, reflecting the gravity of the situation.

The United Liberation Front, a pro-Palestinian group, issuing a statement condemning Patel’s remarks and affirming their commitment to peaceful advocacy.

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