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3/26 San Diego, CA: Anti-immigration activist charged
Released 28 March 2007  By North County Times (California)

Anti-immigration activist charged

March 26, 2007
By: Staff and wire reports - North County Times (California)

SAN DIEGO ---- An anti-immigration activist has been charged with battery, interfering with the civil rights of two day laborers, and filing a false police report, City Attorney Michael Aguirre announced Monday.

A total of nine charges against John Matthew Monti, 36, stem from a Nov. 18 incident near Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard, at a site where day laborers gather to find jobs, Aguirre said in a written statement.

Monti, who could not immediately be reached for comment Monday, has claimed he was the one who was attacked, claims that have appeared on a number of Web sites of groups opposed to illegal immigration.

The Los Angeles-area resident is scheduled to appear in court April 13 on four counts each of battery and interference with civil rights and one count of filing a false crime report to a peace officer.

Monti has said he is a member of the anti-immigration group Save Our State; the city attorney's office said in its written statement that Monti is affiliated with the border-watch group known as the Minutemen.

According to the city attorney's office, Monti began taking photographs of the workers while calling them "Mexicano Cochinos," or dirty Mexicans.

He allegedly began punching one of the victims, Estanislao Gonzales, who tried to walk away because the defendant was sticking his camera in the man's face, according to prosecutors.

When Roberto Pena tried to help Gonzales, who is described in court papers as being disabled, he, too, was assaulted by Monti, prosecutors allege.

Immediately afterward, Monti contacted police, claiming he had been robbed and assaulted by six to eight migrant workers, Aguirre said.

In a telephone interview with the North County Times in November, Monti alleged that he was at the site to photograph day laborers being picked up for work when he was attacked from behind.

In that interview, Monti said his camera and cell phone were taken in the alleged attack, but that he recovered them.

In March, Monti filed a complaint with the San Diego County grand jury for what he described as a failure by authorities to adequately respond to an unrelated incident of prostitution and human trafficking in migrant camps near McGonigle Canyon, an area where hundreds of migrant workers were evicted last year.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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