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Man Accused of Pepper Spraying Palestinian Flag Waver Takes Plea Deal

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Brian Turner, right, watches in court during a July 2023 hearing alongside his attorney, Marc Kapetan. (GV Wire File)
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A man accused of pepper spraying Palestinian-flag-waving protesters at a 2021 rally will not spend time in jail.

At a hearing Monday, Brian Turner of Fresno took a plea deal, ending two-and-a-half-years of court hearings and uncertainty.

“Short of a complete dismissal, you can’t get much better than this,” Turner’s attorney, Marc Kapetan, told GV Wire.

Turner pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of illegal use of tear gas. One other felony charge was dismissed, as well as a hate crime enhancement.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Gabriel Brickey sentenced Turner to 40 hours of community service. The case will be dismissed in six months if Turner complies, Kapetan said.

Brian Turner will not receive jail time after being accused of pepper spraying Palestinian-flag-waving protesters. (GV Wire File)

Argument at the May 2021 Rally

Prosecutors accused Turner of using pepper spray at a north Fresno stoplight on May 15, 2021. While stopped on westbound Nees Avenue at Blackstone Avenue, Turner argued with people in a car that pulled next to him.

Video — recorded by the victims and from a nearby business — appeared to show a Palestinian flag waving from the car, one protester exiting the car momentarily and moving toward Turner, and Turner spraying a substance at the car.

The case made its way slowly through the court. A preliminary hearing in April 2023 was halted after Kapetan filed a motion to disqualify Judge Alvin Harrell III on accusations of bias. That motion was dismissed.

The hearing resumed in July, where one charge was dismissed — pepper spraying the protester who left the car was ruled self-defense. However, the other two charges remained.

The plea deal was first reported by Fresno Bee courts reporter Robert Rodriguez.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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