“They’re yelling at me because of my color, calling me the n-word, calling me the b-word, saying, ‘All lives matter. Black lives doesn’t matter,’” Nibo, 25, told KCAL.
When she yelled back, Nibo said the crowd of dozens went after her.
Moments later, Nibo found herself in the middle of pro-Trump demonstrators, as they pushed her around, smacked her, snatched her wig from her head, and at one point, pepper-sprayed her, she said. Nibo said she believes the crowd would have tried to kill her had it not been for a man who stepped in to shield her before she was carried away.
Now, after photos of the incident went viral, the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating whether the incident was a hate crime, authorities confirmed to The Washington Post on Thursday.
“The LAPD is continuing to conduct a thorough investigation, and we encourage any witnesses or those with information on the suspect(s) to contact Central Area Detectives,” police said in a statement.
By the end of the day, police had arrested six people involved in a clash between Trump supporters and counter protesters, NBC Los Angeles reported. No one was arrested in the incident involving Nibo.
The violent incident in Southern California echoed the attempted insurrection nearly 2,700 miles away, where hundreds of pro-Trump rioters broke into the Capitol to disrupt Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win. The riot incited by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer who died late Thursday from injuries he sustained in the attack.
The incident in Los Angeles began when Nibo was walking around the neighborhood with her friends Wednesday. When she saw dozens of the president’s supporters near City Hall carrying Trump flags and chanting “Stop the steal,” she pulled out her cellphone and began to live-stream what was happening. Realizing she was the only Black person there, Nibo felt it was time to leave, she told the Root, especially after some of the Trump supporters saw her recording.
But demonstrators began following her and asking her whom she had voted for in the election, she said.
“I’m telling them, ‘No, I’m not a Trump supporter. I don’t care. Please just leave me alone. I’m just trying to get home,’” she recounted to KTTV.
At some point, Nibo became separated from her friends and found herself in the middle of the mostly maskless group.
“It’s just me and all of a sudden I’m just getting cornered by 30, 40 people,” she told the Root. “That’s what started all of them to jump in and shoving me around. Then, some lady comes out of nowhere and starts tugging on my hair, trying to pull my hair off of my head.”
After her extensions were pulled off, the crowd began pepper-spraying her eyes, she added.
Raquel Natalicchio, a freelance photographer who captured the incident, said at least 20 Trump supporters circled Nibo, screamed in her face and pushed her among each other. She added that she witnessed men holding flagpoles beating her and others who punched her.
Nibo continued to defend herself until a man grabbed her from behind in a bear hug to protect her from the crowd, KCAL reported.
“The entire time, he kept whispering in my ear, ‘Don’t move, they’re trying to kill you, they’re trying to kill you,’” she said to KTTV.
Natalicchio said that although officers were nearby while she photographed the incident, none intervened. “It took two bystanders to pull her out,” she tweeted.
“If not for him stepping in at that moment, these people would have literally tried to kill me,” she told KCAL9.
Nibo, who told KCAL she only suffered minor scratches, said the incident has left her rattled and fearing for her life as a Black woman in America.
“I don’t understand what’s going on in the world,” Nibo said. “I’m saddened by it. I’m heartbroken by it.”