The University of California, Berkeley is facing a lawsuit from four residents who were injured attending a Milo Yiannpoloulos event, which quickly devolved into a riot due to lack of police presence in February 2017.
John Jennings, Katrina Redelsheimer, Trever Hatch and Donald Fletcher — all residents of Berkeley — were attempting to attend Yiannpoloulos’ speaking event when they were attacked by masked protesters, Berkeley’s college newspaper reported Sunday. The February riots headlined national news for days and caused UC Berkeley $100,000 in damages. The complaint, filed Thursday, demands compensation for damages incurred due to the university “creating dangerous conditions and exposing the Plaintiffs to physical harm caused by a violent mob of anarchists.”
“In this case we had four innocent people who were not doing anything to provoke anyone,” Bill Becker, an attorney representing the plaintiffs with Freedom X Law, told the student paper. “The problem was created by the campus administration, the U.C. Police Department and Berkeley Police Department not doing their job to protect the public.”
The lawsuit names University of California President Janet Napolitano, the UC Board of Regents, UC Police Department Chief of Police, the city of Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Department as defendants. It also names the current Berkeley chancellor, Carol Christ, and Nicholas Dirks, who was the chancellor at the time of the riots.
Antifa protesters setting the campus ablaze was one of the first instances of the group’s violence last year, but it was hardly the last. Outbreaks of violence against conservative speakers plagued UC Berkeley throughout 2017, culminating in September when the college paid a total of $1.4 million to ensure safety at a Ben Shapiro event and another Yiannpoloulos event.
The university paid for equipment rentals as well as hourly fees, overtime pay, and travel and room and board for officers who came to Berkeley from other cities. Police erected concrete barriers and created a protective barrier around five buildings for Shapiro’s event. The heavy police presence dissuaded further violence.
Shapiro praised the college for putting up with the security costs, but blasted the fact that hundreds of police officers were necessary in the first place, calling antifa “pathetic, lying, stupid jackasses.”
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