A police officer investigates the scene near Pearson Park in Anaheim, Calif., on Feb. 27, 2016, after three counterprotesters were stabbed while clashing with Ku Klux Klan members staging a rally. Thirteen people were arrested. 

Members of the Ku Klux Klan who were arrested after a brutal beatdown in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday were released because they were acting in self-defense, police said, the Associated Press reports. 

The five KKK members were released, but seven other people remained in custody because they were seen beating, stomping and attacking the Klansmen with wooden posts, Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt explained Sunday, according to the newswire. 


The clash was reportedly initiated by a larger group of 10 to 20 protesters who had "the intent of perpetrating violence" after six Klan members arrived at a park for a planned anti-immigration rally, the police statement said. Klansmen stabbed three of the counterprotesters with knives and the end of a flagpole.

"Regardless of an individual or groups' beliefs or ideologies, they are entitled to live without the fear of physical violence and have the right, under the law, to defend themselves when attacked," the police statement read. 

Although the Klansmen were released, AP notes that prosecutors plan to review the case to decide whether to file criminal charges. 


As for the seven counterprotesters who remain in custody, they were booked for assault with a deadly weapon or elder abuse for stomping on an elderly Klansman. 

Read more at Talking Points Memo.