Berkeley, CA - The anarchists rioting at Berkeley were attacking innocent people during the riot on Wednesday night. However, they stopped acting tough when confronted by UFC fighter Jake Shields.
The onetime UFC welterweight title challenger had just finished having dinner with his girlfriend in Berkeley when he saw the anarchists who were fanning out from the UC Berkeley campus in order to inflict more violence and destruction.
Jake Shields told MMA Junkie that he saw a man in a Trump hat who was beaten and bloody. “That’s when I had to intervene, because no one is helping the guy, including the police,” Shields said.
Describing the scene of anarchists attacking people, Jake Shields said, “There were hundreds of them around, with weapons, so I was trying to diffuse the situation with the least amount of effort possible. Generally, when you throw a punch, guys back off.”
Part of a verbal altercation with the rioters was captured on video:
The aftermath of me helping a guy after being jumped by thugs. The police and 100's of civilians stood and watched. pic.twitter.com/7hN2iJ4kkf
— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) February 2, 2017
“Dude, you guys got your face covered, you’re attacking people – you’re being fucking fascists,” Shields told them.
Jake Shields was very critical of the police, who he said were refusing to assist. “I stood around and tried to stop some other people from getting beat, and it just kept getting more and more chaotic, so eventually I left. There were just too many people and too many weapons, so it was time for me to get out of there. I tried to get the police to do their job, but they weren’t willing to.”
It's not clear at this time if overwhelming numbers of rioters prevented officers from engaging more aggressively, or if UC Berkeley policies prohibited their police department from engaging more aggressively. It seems clear from the multiple videos on the incident that the anarchists were armed and the police officers were vastly outnumbered and ill-prepared to handle a riot of that size. Any attempt to wade into the fray would have left officers surrounded by anarchists who had been throwing explosives, bricks, and pepper spraying people.
We spoke with one of our police sources in the area, who does not work at UC Berkeley, and he advised that the rumor is that college politics left officers unable to arrest rioters. We were unable to verify the accuracy of this information.
Jake Shields finished, “I think both sides on the right and left have gone crazy. I think the left has gone more crazy because they’re saying the right is so crazy, but they’re the ones stirring up all this chaos.”
What do you think a vastly outnumbered police force could have done differently? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.