|Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images|
Amidst apparent riots in Berkeley by Antifa members, the Berkeley police once again stood aside and allowed violence to flourish. According to The Washington Post:
On Sunday, police in Berkeley maintained a strict perimeter around the area in the beginning of the afternoon, including enforcing an emergency city rule outlawing sticks and other potential weapons from the park. Fifty officers were spread out at the area’s four entrances, according to the Daily Californian.
But antifa protesters — armed with sticks and shields and clad in shin pads and gloves — largely routed the security checks and by 1:30 p.m. police reportedly left the security line at the Center Street and Milvaia Street entrance to the park. Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood told the AP the decision was strategic — a confrontation was sure to spark more violence between the protesters and police.
“No need for a confrontation over a grass patch,” Greenwood said.
Except, of course, that this was literally their job. There were innocent people out there. Videos of Antifa members beating the living hell out of peaceful protesters and journalists quickly went viral on Twitter:
Cameraman that Antifa assaulted. Hit w/baton in 1st pic (already bleeding) then punched/kicked multiple times. Cops "helped" after assaults. pic.twitter.com/SLcdnxXGxq— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) 28 de agosto de 2017
Antifa rush the barrier as riot police evacuate the park. They spill through — "Whose streets?" "Our streets!" — as they hold flares high. pic.twitter.com/ze91vldtiB— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) 27 de agosto de 2017
Someone dives on top of another guy being beaten by Antifa, begging them to stop, fleeing behind police lines. Intra-left blows exchanged. pic.twitter.com/bz2zFEB25j— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) 27 de agosto de 2017
Antifa beat down apparent alt-righter. pic.twitter.com/WVdDJqLKmA— Shane Bauer (@shane_bauer) 27 de agosto de 2017
This is the police’s only job: protecting innocent citizens in the performance of their rights. Yet over and over again, we have seen apparent stand-down orders from political figures and police chiefs designed to allow Antifa to roam free. At California State University at Los Angeles, left-wing agitators got violent with students seeking to attend one of my speeches; police were allegedly told by the administration not to prevent those agitators from blocking entrances. At University of Wisconsin, administrators reportedly told police not to clear the room of protesters. At Berkeley last year, police did virtually nothing as Antifa ran wild, burning cars and smashing property, supposedly in response to a Milo Yiannopoulos speech.
And it’s not just on college campuses. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake infamously stated that she wanted to give rioters “space” to get violent during the Freddie Gray riots. Police did little to tamp down violence in Ferguson, fearful that doing so would blow back on them.
This must end.
I spoke at Berkeley in February 2016, and the event carried zero security risk.
I’m scheduled to speak at Berkeley on September 14. My presence has been approved by the administration. The chancellor of the school, Carol Christ, has blessed the event, calling it a part of Berkeley’s “Free Speech Year.” Young America’s Foundation, which is sponsoring the event, has already footed an extra $15,000 surcharge for security. I have called and will continue to call on all those who attend to remain non-violent under all circumstances — I don’t need my free speech rights protected by anyone other than the police. This is still America, a civilized country.
If the police refuse to do their jobs, or if they are told not to do their jobs by governmental or administrative figures, Congress should move immediately to cut off funding for the campus and any police agencies who do not tamp down violence. The rioter’s veto must end, and it must end now. We should not have to fear violence every time someone with a dissenting view steps into the public square.
For Antifa, though, the views aren’t even at issue. I despise the alt-right, as I’ve made clear at every turn; I’ve been in open political warfare with the alt-right for years. But I doubt Antifa will care. They believe that anyone who isn’t a communist or an anarchist is an enemy.
So the only questions will be three: First, will Antifa act with violence? Second, if they do, will the police do their jobs? Third, will the media be honest about the violence, or will they attempt to blame conservatives like me for the violence of violent groups, and the malfeasance of police?
All this can be avoided with a simple prescription: police doing their jobs, and citizens doing theirs. But the way things are headed in Berkeley, that prescription may not be so simple after all.
Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire, August 28, 2017