PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Placerville residents held a protest Tuesday evening, calling on city leaders to take action after a hate group showed up at a Toys for Tots event last weekend.

A Toys for Tots event meant to provide holiday cheer has caused quite the controversy after the Placerville Proud Boys showed up, dropped off some toys and then held up a hand gesture widely recognized as a symbol of hate.
The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the Proud Boys a general hate group.

Some business owners and community members were upset after the incident and held a protest outside of city hall holding up signs that read “This is not us” and “Placerville is too great for hate.” Protesters said the example set at the Toys for Tots event by the Placerville Proud Boys is not the sentiment echoed by neighbors in town.

“I totally understand the whole event of dropping the toys off. But when you’re all kind of group together, no one‘s wearing a face mask and the sweatshirts are the black and yellow sweatshirts with a big tree and a person hanging off of it, it just kind of like it just kind of sways the situation,” Placerville resident Elizabeth Dubose said.

Mayor Michael Saragosa denounced white supremacist groups including the Proud Boys, saying they are not welcome in Placerville.

“White supremacists, racists we don’t want you in Placerville. Proud Boys, I’ve made the statement already, we don’t want you in downtown Placerville, in Placerville as a whole, but certainly not in Main Street as well. We don’t condone or support white supremacy,” Saragosa said.

Several Proud Boy members were seen in town Tuesday, defending their actions at the Toys for Tots event.

Placerville Police Chief Joseph Wren said in a statement that his department was accused of partnering with the group, which is false. He said officers help with traffic control for the event organized by the Marines every year and that “it’s unfortunate some choose to use the Toys for Tots event to push a personal or political agenda.”

Tonight on the CBS13 News at 10, why the Placerville mayor is calling the Proud Boys a hate group but the Placerville Police Department refuses to. 

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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