Who is Indian-American Riddhi Patel, arrested for murder threat to Bakersfield council members?

During Bakersfield City Council meeting in California on Wednesday, a pro-pro-Palestine protester Riddhi Patel was arrested for making threats to the council members. As per a Fox News report, “She made alarming threats towards council members and Republican Mayor Karen Goh, citing their lack of support for a cease-fire resolution against Israel and increased security measures at the government building in response to ongoing anti-Israel protests.”

Pro Palestine activist Riddhi Patel in court (left), Patel at the city council meeting. Photo courtesy: Free Press Journal
Riddhi Patel in court (left), Patel at the city council meeting. Photo courtesy: Free Press Journal

So, who is Riddhi Patel? She is a 28-year-old pro-Palestine Indian American citizen. According to a report by California based news organisation functioning from Bakersfield itself, “Riddhi Patel is the Economic Development Coordinator for The Center on Race, Poverty & The Environment according to the organisation’s website and her LinkedIn Profile.”

As per the report, Patel joined The Center on Race, Poverty & The Environment in September 2020. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, and attended Stockdale High school. She completed Bachelor of Science in neuroscience from Saint Louis University in 2017. She returned to Bakersfield in 2019.

Pro-Palestine organisation distances itself from Riddhi Patel’s comments

Riddhi Patel, along with being a part of The Center on Race, Poverty & The Environment, is a strong pro-Palestine activist. Soon after the incident came to light, the United Liberation Front, a pro-Palestinian group that has been advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza, took to X and distanced itself from any threatening statements being made by anyone. The post said, “United Liberation Front unequivocally condemns any statements that threaten public officials. The comments in question made tonight by a speaker run counter to our values and do not represent United Liberation Front.”


Meanwhile, mixed reactions were observed from social media users.

X user- @0mNam0 said, “We seriously need to expose US double standards. Pannun gives open threats to attack our PM, our country yet he is protected by US special forces. One lady who got emotional and cursed the US law makers was immediately arrested. Where is Freedom of speech now??”

X user – @AnilJagtap67960 said, “Being pro Palestine, pro Israel, pro blah blah is okay, threaten someone to take life is a serious crime. She deserved it.”

X user -@humble_fool_0 said, “US, despite all its flaws, is ruthless in its enforcement of law….esp if the person to be punished doesn’t have any strong backing from any politically powerful groups… so just stay away from politics if you’re a brown person without any strong group backing you.”

Patel pleads not guilty

Riddhi Patel pleaded not guilty to 18 felony accusations and is facing more than a dozen accusations of threatening with intent to terrorize and threatening public officials based on the statements she made during the public comment period of Bakersfield City Council meeting. Patel pleaded not guilty and will appear in court on April 24 at 9 a.m. Her bail was set at $1 million.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected to India)