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Man pleads not guilty to threatening Women's March

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As the Women's March SLO prepares to mark its one-year anniversary, the man who allegedly threatened some members of the organization in August is fighting the criminal charges against him in SLO County Superior Court.

Daniel Joshua Phares, 54, pleaded not guilty Nov. 9 to a misdemeanor charge of making a criminal threat to three women associated with the with the Women's March SLO organization.

SLO police arrested Phares in August after investigating a threatening comment that was left on the Women's March SLO Facebook post about the organization's Aug. 16 Outshine the Darkness event, an-anti-racism rally held in the aftermath of violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. SLO Police Department officials declined to release screenshots of the comment, but said it was a "specific death threat."

Following Phares' arrest, New Times and other media outlets revealed a multiple Facebook posts from an account bearing Phares' name, which included calls for police to harass "mixed race and mixed attractiveness couples" and called the destruction of mosques a "moral imperative" for Western society.

The posts date as far back as 2013, and at least one of them appears to be aimed at a prominent African-American activist.

"WE NEED MORE TRIGGER HAPPY COPS," a 2014 post, directed at African-American civil rights activist and cable news host Al Sharpton, stated.

Phares' case is scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 14. At a hearing in August, a SLO County judge prohibited Phares from having any contact with the three women named in the criminal complaint against him, or the Women's March SLO Facebook page. If convicted, Phares could face up to one year in county jail or serve time in state prison.

While Phares' case moves through the court system, the organization he allegedly threatened is preparing to mark its first anniversary with another rally.

The group announced that it was organizing a "hear our vote—voices of resistance" event Jan. 20 at Mission Plaza to celebrate last year's march and encourage participation in the upcoming 2018 elections. The rally will coincide with others across the state and nation, organizers said. Δ


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