Pictures have captured the moment a white Trump supporter reportedly came to a black woman’s aid after an angry mob of MAGA fans attacked her, ripped off her wig, and called her the N-word during a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Los Angeles .
Berlinda Nibo, 25, had been walking past the pro-Trump protest on her way home on Wednesday when she began to be harassed by members of the crowd outside LA City Hall asking her if she voted for the president.
But the crowd soon became violent and Nibo was attacked and pepper-sprayed in the face multiple times.
The black woman, who was alone, had been left virtually defenseless until finally receiving help from an unlikely source. A nearby white man – identified online as Roy Ball – who had been attending the event stepped in to give her a bear hug and managed to pull her to safety.
‘That guy, I call him my hero. That guy picked me up, was whispering in my ear, telling me, “Keep going. You’re OK. I got you, I have your phone. You’re OK, I’m going to get you out of here. These people are trying to kill you”,’ she told NBC 4
Negative online reaction to photos of the incident, however, has lead to Ball losing his job at a Toyota dealership in West Covina. The dealership have not revealed whether he will be reinstated after Nibo’s assurances that he was helping her.
A white Trump supporter (pictured) who was attending Wednesday’s Stop the Steal rally in Los Angeles, pulled Berlinda Nibo (pictured) to safety after she was attacked by a mob of MAGA fans
Nibo, 25, who lives two blocks away from LA City Hall where the protest took place, said she had been walking home when members of the crowd began harassing and hurling abuse at her
Photos of the horrific scene captured the moment violent protesters ripped off Nibo’s red wig during the altercation
Nibo, who lives just two blocks away from City Hall, said she had initially tried to dismiss the agitators and ‘flipped them off’ before continuing her walk home.
But as she tried to walk away, a mob of ‘at least 20 Trump supporters’ surrounded her and began shouting abuse in her face and shoving her among members of the crowd.
Berlinda Nibo (pictured in as social media photo) called the man her ‘hero’
She explained the protesters had instigated the altercation by ‘calling me the N-word calling me the B-word, saying, “All lives matter, Black lives doesn’t matter”.’
She says when she responded, the encounter turned violent as one woman yanked off Nibo’s red wig, and two men holding American flags began beating her.
Nibo told NBC 4 she was ‘heartbroken’ over the attack that left her feeling like she can no longer walk down her street anymore in peace.
The horrific attack was captured on camera by freelance photojournalist Raquel Natalicchio who shared the photos in an Instagram post that has now gone viral.
In her Instagram post, Nataliccho said ‘men holding flag poles began beating [Nibo] alongside others who were punching her.’
Nataliccho’s photos also showed Ball was holding Nibo’s arms down as he lifted her out of the crowd, which the photographer had said was an aggressive move.
‘At one point a Trump supporter grabbed her from behind, restricting her ability to defend herself , as she continued to get maced right in the eyes,’ she incorrectly said of Ball.
Nibo addressed the incident in an interview with news outlets and clarified that the man was helping.
‘If not for him stepping in at that moment, these people would have literally tried to kill me,’ Nibo told NBC 4.
Nataliccho later posted an update to her Instagram post, saying: ‘witnesses have stated and have photo and video footage of the woman being maced in the eyes while being held by Ball.’
In a later interview with Buzzfeed, Nibo said Ball carrying her with her hands at her sides ‘did not help’.
She said: ‘It would’ve helped me more if he had made way for me to move out of there completely.’
Photographer Nataliccho blasted the police for not intervening to help Nibo when she was attacked by the MAGA supporters.
‘The police line was right behind me in this photo. Not one officer stepped in. It took two bystanders and myself dragging her out and running over to the police line for safety.’
As the images began circulating on social media, Nibo’s supporters shared Twitter posts identifying Ball and his employer in hopes of bringing attention to his apparent violent behavior.
One tweet was even shared by actress Jane Lynch, who identified Ball as an employee at a Toyota dealership in West Covina.
A Trump supporter, identified as Roy Ball, stepped in to give Nibo a bear hug and managed to pull her to safety
Ball had initially been denounced as a white supremacist agitator on social media by Nibo’s supporters who thought he had been assaulting her
Astonishing photos showed bystanders rushing to help after Nibo was pepper sprayed in the face
The young black woman is seen being treated moments after she was attacked
The company then released a statement in response, denouncing his alleged behavior and announcing it was cutting ties with Ball.
‘The actions in these photos are inconsistent with Toyota’s guiding principle of Respect for People. We do not condone this conduct. While Toyota dealerships are independently owned and operated entities, we can confirm this person is no longer employed by any Toyota dealership,’ they said in a tweet.
Nibo later cleared the air explaining Ball had actually saved her life.
Nibo confirmed that she has spoken to law enforcement and called Ball’s employer to inform them that he had helped her during the ordeal, but did not say what their response was.
Earlier, the LAPD announced it was investigating the ‘disturbing images’ taken at the protest and confirmed a ‘designated area was established within the protest location for individuals to report crimes and/or seek medical attention.’
Police later released an updated statement Thursday confirming Ball was not one of the aggressors.
‘The individual seen in the images with his arms wrapped around her – per the victim’s statement- was determined to be a Good Samaritan that helped her get away from the hostile crowd, by carrying her to safety,’ cops said.
Actress Jane Lynch was among the people who named and shamed Ball on Twitter, causing him to lose his job at a Toyota dealership in West Covina
The company responded to the tweet condemning his alleged behavior and announcing it had cut ties with Ball
The LAPD, who is investigating the incident as a hate crime, released an update confirming Ball was a ‘Good Samaritan’ during the altercation
Nibo did not suffer any major injuries in the attack but sustained a scratch to her face and had been pepper sprayed.
Natalicchio said she chose to publicize the photos of the attack to show the violence and hatred black people face in America.
‘People of color experience things like this on a daily basis and are seldom believed when they speak about it,’ she told the news station. ‘It’s real sad,’ she said. ‘We gotta do better. We got to do better.’
The LAPD said it is now investigating the incident as a hate crime and encouraged witnesses to come forward to help them track down the assailants.
Several people were arrested during the rally after clashes between Trump supporters, counter-protesters and police.
Some images posted to social media showed people with blood on their faces but no serious injuries were reported.
Officials were eventually forced to declare an unlawful assembly after the crowd of about 200 people gathered outside City Hall and the LA Police Department headquarters.
It came as protesters elsewhere across the country took to the streets as President-elect Joe Biden was set to be certified as the winner of the November election.
The incident was captured on camera by freelance photojournalist Raquel Natalicchio who shared the photos in an Instagram post that has now gone viral. She later clarified that Ball had been assisting Nibo, not assaulting her