MAGA-Hat Clad Man Charged With Attempted Murder For Allegedly Slicing Man With Sword in San Francisco

A San Franciso man has been charged with attempted murder, mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon following accusations that he slashed another man with a sword during a brawl over the assailant's "Make America Great Again" Hat.

Leor Bergland, 30, was arrested Wednesday following a days-long police search in the city. The San Francisco Police Department said in a statement that officers had staked out the Bergland residence and devoted "round the clock" surveillance in an effort to arrest him.

The charges stem from a March 29 incident near the Church of 8 Wheels, a popular roller skating rink in the city's Western Addition neighborhood. After a verbal confrontation, the 27-year-old Berkeley victim had attempted to knock off Bergland's pro-Trump hat when Bergland allegedly whipped out a hidden sword and sliced him, nearly severing his hand.

"The suspect drew a sword and cut the victim's left hand before running from the scene," police said. "The victim and a witness initially chased the suspect until he turned and began advancing towards them. They ended their pursuit and suspect fled the area."

Bergland, who was reportedly identified by fingerprint evidence left on a beer bottle, appeared in court on Friday and did not issue a plea. A judge set bail at $250,000. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, he appeared "defiant" during the proceedings and at one point turned to his attorney and said, "I can defend myself."

David Miles, who founded the Church of 8 Wheels, told Newsweek he didn't see the incident but ran outside to help the victim afterward.

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David Miles posted this picture to Facebook of the aftermath of the alleged attack. David Miles/Facebook

"I was standing in the church and someone came running in saying someone was hurt," Miles said. "I ran outside and saw the guy, and he was bleeding. I mean, gushing so much you wouldn't believe. In the process, they're telling me what happened to him. We tried to stop the bleeding. The ambulance came, and they took him to the hospital."

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he had emergency surgery on his hand.

Miles, who posted a picture of the bloody aftermath on his Facebook, said Bergland had been seen outside the skating rink earlier in the evening, where he was allegedly hurling anti-gay slurs at customers.

"The guy with the MAGA hat had come to the door and was harassing people, calling them names, but he didn't come in," Miles said.

A rash of MAGA-hat related assaults has been reported in the few years since the 2016 presidential election, when the red cap became a symbol of allegiance with President Donald Trump's more controversial policies.

Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, told Newsweek in a previous interview that the attacks—committed by and against people wearing the Pro-Trump garb—are indicative of the country's polarized, divisive political climate.

"Unfortunately, we expect to see more of this. We believe that white nationalists and far-right extremists represent the most prominent extremism threats," Levin said. "At a time of intense division, as well as the accession of euro or white nationalism, you're going to get these retaliatory movements to arise as well, even though white nationalism is broadly dispersed and has the most followers."

MAGA-Hat Clad Man Charged With Attempted Murder For Allegedly Slicing Man With Sword in San Francisco | U.S.