California couple face misdemeanor battery charges for attack during May 30 riots in downtown Reno
Arrest warrants were issued today for Toni Sisson, 20, and Joseph Salazar, 25, of Visalia, California. They face charges of allegedly assaulting Donnell Dike-Anukam May 30 during rioting in downtown Reno. Video evidence, photographs and This Is Reno reader tips led to the identification of Sisson and Salazar.
On May 30, Dike-Anukam, a volunteer, along with a number of This Is Reno journalists, covered Reno’s peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration at City Plaza and then at the federal courthouse on Virginia Street. A group splintered off and proceeded to the Reno Police station, where rioting and vandalism began. Black Lives Matter organizers disavowed this group’s actions and said what they did was unrelated to their peaceful protest.
As the afternoon progressed into the evening, the crowd ended up at Reno City Hall. Vandals smashed windows, broke into City Hall, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in destruction, and in the process, Dike-Anukam was assaulted by at least two people.
Videos show that, while many were live-streaming the events and taking photographs, Dike-Anukam was singled out, likely because he was wearing his media badge. There were other instances of verbal threats made against members of the news media that day, even though countless people were documenting the events.
Salazar is seen in video footage filming just prior to sucker punching Dike-Anukam. Sisson later posted online video and images from the riot, including using This Is Reno images without credit or permission.
Reno Police investigation led to charges
The Reno Police Department’s media releases requesting information on the attack were what prompted reader tips to This Is Reno that ultimately identified Sisson as one of the two attackers.
The pair are seen in different videos from different vantage points. They attacked Dike-Anukam for filming, but they are seen running from the scene in a different video not covering their faces. The did not attack the person live-streaming them in that video.
Dike-Anukam’s assault resulted in misdemeanor battery charges. Sisson and Salazar may only get arrested if they come back to Nevada.
Couple facing assault charges in California too
The couple also face assault and drug possession charges for a road rage incident against a mother and daughter in January.
“Sisson was booked in the Tulare County Jail for threatening the victim with a stun gun. Salazar was booked for child endangerment, battery and transporting and sales of marijuana,” ABC 30 of Fresno reported at the time.
Sisson, on one of her social media accounts, denied having a stun gun and said the contraband was vape batteries, not drugs.
Dike-Anukam attended Sisson and Salazar’s arraignment two weeks ago in Tulare County, California. He followed them outside the courthouse and attempted to ask them questions. Salazar knocked Dike-Anukam’s phone out of his hand and screamed at him.
Dike-Anukam filed a new police report for the assault, this time with the Visalia Police Department. The Visalia Police Department confirmed the case has been forwarded to the District Attorney’s office. Salazar, according to police, admitted to slapping Dike-Anukam’s phone out of his hand.
The couple are scheduled for another court hearing Sept. 2.
This Is Reno established a GoFundMe fundraiser to cover Dike-Anukam’s medical bills, new eyeglasses and living expenses for time off work.
UPDATE: This story was updated to include information about the case in Visalia.