‘Chainsaw Man’ Charged With Attacking Protesters

Screenshot taken from viral video showing Daniel Soto Pena revving a chainsaw to disperse a protest in McAllen, Texas, over police killings and racial justice. (Courthouse News image)

MCALLEN, Texas (CN) — A South Texas man was charged and arraigned Saturday with revving a chainsaw and shouting racial slurs at people protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Daniel Soto Pena, 44, was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault and four counts of deadly conduct, according to Hidalgo County Jail records.

In a viral video taken by a bystander on Friday, Pena is shown exiting a truck in downtown McAllen and shouting “move” and “go home” several times as he fires up a chainsaw while walking toward several protesters on a sidewalk.

“Don’t let these fucking niggers fool you,” Pena yells while pointing. “Don’t let those fucking trash antifa bullshit people. Don’t let these pendejos right here, don’t let these assholes lie to you. This is the [Rio Grande] Valley.”

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling apologized to the protesters, saying, “That is not what we do or who we are.”

“The ‘chainsaw’ man has been arrested,” the mayor tweeted Saturday,” We will not tolerate such conduct in our City of McAllen.”

The truck that Pena exits had decals for Edinburg-based Delta Specialties Signs & Supply. The company apologized for the incident and said that Pena was not an employee, “nor does he represent our company.”

“We are sadden[ed] and heartbroken that this even took place,” the company posted on Facebook. “Delta Specialties Signs & Supply’s values and belie[fs] are not the ones represented today … please continue being the voice of change and stand for what is right. This is a time to stand united and strong.”

Pena remains jailed under $17,000 bond. A GoFundMe campaign claiming to have been started by Pena for help with legal fees has been taken down from the website. The campaign allegedly claimed some protesters “are just there to vandalize and to affect the small local business.”

“To be honest I’m tired about what is going on in the USA and I did step out of my truck and peacefully I told some of the protester to take it easy and go home,” the campaign allegedly stated. “I think the Rio Grand[e] Valley area don’t need this kind of demonstration since others are affected by the protesters and most likely some of them are not even there for the real cause.”

GoFundMe confirmed Saturday it had taken down the campaign for unspecified violations of its terms of service.

A second GoFundMe campaign for Pena’s benefit was created Saturday evening by another user, claiming Pena “did nothing wrong” and was “protecting his body and property as armed protesters attacked him,” a statement that does not align with what is seen on the video.

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