Four San Francisco Bay Area residents filed a lawsuit against Berkeley University for injuries they suffered while trying to attend a speech by controversial right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos last February, which was cancelled.
Plaintiffs John Jennings, Katrina Redelsheimer, Trever Hatch and Donald Fletcher said they bought tickets to the event and went to see what was happening on campus after learning the speech was cancelled. They said they were then attacked with sticks and pepper spray and got kicked numerous times by Antifastyle protestors. They suffered cuts, welts and broken ribs.
As the attacks went on, the four plaintiffs said the police stayed in a protective area while “issuing feckless disbursal orders and empty threats of arrest.”
“We were assaulted completely out of the blue based on our perceived political affiliation by an angry mob,” Redelsheimer said.
Fletcher said he was beaten unconscious and that he still experiences negative psychological effects from the incident.
“Police deliberately chose to ensure their own safety while leaving the public, who they are sworn to serve and protect, vulnerable to radical left-wing lawlessness,” Bill Becker, who works for a law firm that serves conservative victims of discrimination, said in a Monday statement. “They now must answer to the public for their dereliction of duty.”
The radicals rioted before the scheduled events and caused $100,000 in damages. They threw rocks, set fires and tore down a barricade around the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. The people who were planning to attend the event got trapped in Sproul Plaza and couldn’t escape.
The lawsuit accuses campus and city officials of not preparing for the rioting despite being warned. It also alleges police put up barricades “in such a manner as to enable angry malefactors to surround plaintiffs and assault them.” The lawsuit demands unspecified financial damages.
The lawsuit states, “This action seeks to protect and vindicate fundamental rights. It is a civil rights action brought under the Fourteenth Amendment against government actors responsible for creating dangerous conditions and exposing the Plaintiffs to physical harm caused by a violent mob of anarchists at a student-sponsored Milo Yiannopolous event (“Yiannopolous event”) scheduled to take place at the University of California, Berkeley (“UC Berkeley” and “University”) on February 1, 2017.”
University spokesman Dan Mogulof said that university officials “condemn the violence and the mayhem — the destruction of property.”
“We deeply regret the fact that the actions of the few interfered with the desires of the many to engage in legal and lawful protest, and in doing so, also forced the cancellation of the event that one of our student groups had worked long and hard on,” he said.