‘Reveal’ host Al Letson throws himself into melee to protect right-wing protester

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Al Letson, host of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal, threw himself on a man during an anti-hate protest in Berkeley, Calif., Sunday to protect him from a beating.

Letson joins a local broadcast of WJCT in Jacksonsville, Fla., a production partner in the final episodes of SOTRU.


“I was scared they were going to kill him,” Letson told Reveal’s blog. “So the only thing I could think was I wanted to get on top of him to protect him.”

Downtown Berkeley was packed with people assembling to counter a planned right-wing rally, though organizers had canceled the rally Saturday. Police arrived to break up clashes between left and right-wing groups among the crowd of thousands, according to Reveal.

Letson was covering the anti-hate rally with CIR colleagues. Videos show conflict at the event escalated when right-wing organizer Joey Gibson showed up and was chased by other demonstrators:

“Meanwhile, Letson said, a man who appeared to be one of Gibson’s supporters was also chased by 20 to 30 [antifascist] protesters, who began to kick and hit him with sticks,” according to Reveal. Letson then intervened to help the man.

If the man was indeed a member of the alt-right, Letson was keeping true to the words and views he shares on Reveal. He saw the humanity of another person, even one hostile to people of color.

The situation was chaotic. Watch the moment when Letson stepped in:

A longer video shows the scene before and after Letson entered the fracas:

For most, that good deed would be enough for a day. Not for Letson, who posted to Instagram that he helped an elderly woman escape the protest and shop for groceries. Letson got them a Lyft and helped the woman put away her groceries.

“She told me she has no one, but she has God,” Letson wrote. “Her family’s abandoned her, but the lord sent me to her. I think it’s the other way around. She’s exactly what I needed.”

For Letson, also a playwright and comic-book author, it’s all in a day’s work.

Reveal produced a special episode about the protest.

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