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Police: MAGA hat swordsman who slashed man's hand after hat swatted off head is arrested, bail set at $1 million

Court records show he allegedly used a blade before

Image source: KNTV-TV video screenshot

San Francisco police said they've arrested the swordsman who wore a red "Make America Great Again" hat — the symbol of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign — and slashed another man's hand after a confrontation last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Authorities arrested Leor Bergland, 30, Wednesday near a residential hotel for formerly homeless people where he lived, the paper said.

He was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, mayhem, and weapons and assault charges, the Chronicle said, adding that jail records indicate his bail is set at $1 million.

Bergland — from his San Francisco City Jail cell — on Thursday declined a Chronicle request for an interview, the paper said.

What's the background?

Police said a 27-year-old Berkeley man was standing near the Church of 8 Wheels roller skating rink last Friday night when he saw Bergland wearing the red MAGA hat and swatted it off his head, the Chronicle reported — and that's when Bergland pulled out a sword and slashed the man's left hand.

The profusely bleeding victim and a witness chased after the attacker but backed off when "he turned and began advancing toward them," the paper said, citing a police account.

The victim was taken to a hospital where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, police told the Chronicle.

Police originally reported the victim was wearing the MAGA hat but changed their statement late Saturday.

"I can't speak to the discrepancy in the information," Officer Robert Rueca, a San Francisco police spokesman, told the paper in a separate story. "There was a lot of information being put out there that we were still looking to confirm, so that may have led to the confusion."

It also was reported earlier that the pair were arguing before the victim tried to take away the MAGA hat.

Scott Sweeney, 24, said he saw a man wearing a MAGA hat with a sword tucked into the back of his jacket about 30 minutes before the attack shouting homophobic slurs at him and his girlfriend, the Chronicle said.

"In my mind I didn't think it was a real sword until we came out later and police were on the scene and there was blood and the hat on the ground," Sweeney added to the paper.

David Miles — aka "Sk8father" who started the rink at the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church — told the Chronicle he was inside for the adults-only roller disco night but came outside to help the victim.

"The guy was cut, he was bleeding like you wouldn't believe," Miles told the paper. "He was just gushing blood, so we got the first-aid kit from inside and tried to stop the bleeding."

Skepticism

Miles posted a Facebook photo of a red MAGA hat sitting right next to a pool of blood on the sidewalk and wrote in his post, "Tonight is the first time I have ever experienced how utterly crazy T-rump people really are!!!"

But not every commenter believed the MAGA hat portion of the story, as one declared: "Convenient for the sword-swinging assailant to take his MAGA hat off and leave it on the scene, in nearly mint condition by the way[.] I like how the Trump supporters numbering in the tens in San Francisco keep the bills of their caps completely straight. I'm sure that hat would be full of DNA and fingerprints of the assailant, so this case should be wrapped up shortly."

Anything else?

Court records indicated this incident wasn't the first time Bergland was accused of using a blade, the Chronicle reported.

Bergland was charged with unlawful entry into a vehicle in Multnomah County, Oregon, in October 2012, the paper said.

Image source: Multnomah County Sheriff

Citing Multnomah County District Attorney's Office spokesman Brent Weisberg, the Chronicle said a man unlocked his van on a Portland street and found Bergland hunched over in the backseat. Weisberg said the man removed Bergland from the van, threw him to the ground, and held him down when Bergland pulled a knife from his pants pocket, opened the blade, and waved it at the man, the paper reported.

Weisberg said passersby jumped in to help, took the knife from Bergland, and held him until police arrived, the Chronicle reported.

One last thing…
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