Astonishing images have emerged showing the moment a white Trump supporter came to a black woman’s rescue 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 asking her if she voted for the president.
The woman, who lives just two blocks away from City Hall where the rally took place, said she 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.
The altercation quickly turned violent as one woman yanked off Nibo’s red wig while reportedly calling her a ‘n***er b***h’, as two men holding American flags began beating her.
The black woman, who was alone, had been left virtually defenseless until an unlikely source of help came to her rescue. A nearby white man who had been attending the event stepped in to give her a bear hug and managed to pull her to safety.
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
The horrific attack – as well as the man’s heroic gesture – was captured on camera by freelance photojournalist Raquel Natalicchio who shared the photos in an Instagram post that has now gone viral.
But Natalicchio initially claimed the man had been assaulting her, sparking outrage on social media that led him to get fired.
Berlinda Nibo (pictured in as social media photo) called the man her ‘hero’
Nibo spoke out on the attack on Friday to clarify that the man holding her was her ‘hero’, not an aggressor.
‘If not for him stepping in at that moment, these people would have literally tried to kill me,’ she told NBC 4.
‘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”.’
The man, identified as Roy Ball, however, had been painted as hostile member of the crowd in the viral post.
‘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,’ Natalicchio wrote in a caption.
‘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.
The 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 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, which was later included in an update shared by Natalicchio.
The photographer however, noted that Ball had been ‘filmed earlier that same day leading several crowds that verbally and physically assaulted a woman of color’.
Nibo confirmed on Friday that she had spoken to law enforcement and called Ball’s employer to inform them that he had helped her during the ordeal.
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
The LAPD had earlier announced it had been investigating the ‘disturbing images’ taken at the protest and had confirmed a ‘designated area was established within the protest location for individuals to report crimes and/or seek medical attention.’
Police later released a statement Thursday saying: ‘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.’
Nibo did not suffer any major injuries in the attack but sustained a scratch to her face and had been pepper sprayed.
She explained the protesters had been ‘calling me the N-word calling me the B-word, saying, ‘All lives matter, Black lives doesn’t matter.’
One man then smacked her in the face, she said, ‘and then all of them start trying to jump me, and then people jump in.’
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
Natalicchio told CBS LA she publicized 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 said.
‘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.