Blue Lives Matter National Spokesman Randy Sutton has conducted an investigation into the UC Berkeley riots, and collected the following information from our law enforcement sources.
The epic failure at the University of California Berkeley to safeguard lives and property during the recent riot personifies not only ineptitude and cowardice at the highest levels of University and Police leadership but something far darker and insidious. It reveals that same leadership becoming complicit in violating one of the most fundamental and cherished rights in America. That of free speech.
Officers stood by and did not intervene as the rioters, armed with homemade weapons, incendiary devices, and firebombs, attacked innocent people and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
The “Incident at Berkeley” will go down in history as one the most embarrassing and degrading examples of police leadership in modern memory. The images of University of California Police Officers in full tactical gear doing absolutely nothing as a swarm of black-clad uniformly dressed, masked rioters, were attacking and injuring innocent people will forever darken the image of law enforcement officers everywhere.
What Led Up To The UC Berkeley Riot
A student group at U.C. Berkeley invited a controversial figure to speak at a campus event. Milo Yiannopoulos is a British journalist, author, public speaker and senior editor for Breitbart News. His viewpoints and performances have created protests previously, some of which have turned violent.
Without a doubt, the University and the UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett were aware of this and had ample time to prepare. In fact, in a written statement issued after the event the University said that “it had prepared security measures following what had happened at Yiannopoulos’ previous events.”
On the date of the event, Wednesday February 1, 2017, approximately 1500 protesters begin gathering by Sproul Plaza, holding up signs and chanting. Approximately 100 Police Officers from University of California campuses were brought in under a “mutual aid” agreement to deal with the expected protests. The officers on scene were under the leadership of UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett.
Yiannopoulos arrived and was waiting in the building to give his talk with a contingent of private security personnel. Protesters were allowed within very close proximity of the people who came to see the event, resulting in arguments and altercations. The crowd grew larger and more unruly until suddenly, without warning, approximately 150 “black bloc” agitators appeared in what appeared to be a paramilitary formation, armed with pikes, clubs, industrial fireworks and Molotov cocktails.
The newcomers were dressed head to toe in black, wore black face masks, and some had wooden shields. They ran into the crowd and began attacking those who, based on their appearance, were believed to be Donald Trump supporters.
The rioters set fires, smashed windows, committed hundreds of thousands of dollars in vandalism, set fireworks off in the direction of the police and beat some people while pepper spraying others. The UC Police Department did nothing.
The scene became total mayhem with violent attacks and felony crimes taking place within feet of the police, and still, they did nothing, and now we know why.
Officers Ordered Not To Help
When officers arrived at the area where the protesters were gathered at about 2 PM, they were ordered into the Martin Luther King building where the speech was to take place, where they would “shelter in place” until almost midnight. The officers were ordered to lock the doors and do nothing to help the beaten and injured victims who begging them for help on the other side of the glass, long after the event was cancelled and Yiannopoulos evacuated.
Everybody should rightfully be asking: how is it possible that such violence and criminality could take place at a planned event on a university campus while the police, in essence, surrendered their authority and allowed total anarchy? Well perhaps not TOTAL anarchy, as there was one person arrested at the end of the night. The answer is clear. The leadership of the University Administration in concert with the leadership of the University of California Police Department, shirked their responsibility and subjected not only thousands of civilians to violence and terrible danger, but violated the tenants of law enforcement altogether, the tenants of “To Serve and Protect.”
Why? Perhaps because they were so concerned with the “protesters” right to “free speech” which, in reality, was mob rule, that they willingly sacrificed the free speech of Milo Yiannopoulos and those who came to listen to him. The hypocrisy is stunning to anyone who truly honors the concept of “free speech,” but quite understandable when viewed through the eyes of those whose values and respect for the United States Constitution are, what we could call, "fluid."
Moving On From The Incident At Berkeley
The “Incident at Berkeley” is far from over and the ramifications could touch college campuses and other institutions of learning all over this nation.
John Bakhit is a former Police Officer and now Managing Attorney for Mastagni and Holstedt in Ontario, California and he represents many of the University of California Police Officers who were forced to “stand down.”
Bakhit is exploring methods of revealing the truth of what happened that day to the attention of those in government who can investigate and “make sure this never happens again.”
We at Blue Lives Matter echo that sentiment and we would like to call for the United States Department of Justice to fully investigate this injustice. Never again should people attending a public event be intimidated and physically assaulted because of their political views.
Never again should Anarchists masquerading as “peaceful protesters” be allowed to commit acts of violence and intimidation without fear of consequences.
And never again should a dedicated Law Enforcement Officer be subjected to watching beaten and injured victims crying for help and be ordered to do nothing as they look on helplessly because of cowardly and unethical leadership.
Do you think that there's any excuse for not allowing officers to assist crime victims? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the poll below or on our Facebook page.
Lt. Randy Sutton (ret.) served almost 34 years in law enforcement before retiring as a Lieutenant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He one of the most decorated law enforcement professionals in the country, the National Spokesman for Blue Lives Matter, host of Blue Lives Radio, and author of A Cops Life and The Power of Legacy.