STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Conservative activist allegedly attacked on UC Berkeley campus

A conservative activist reported he was attacked while recruiting students for Turning Point USA at UC Berkeley, according to campus police.

Posted: Feb 24, 2019 10:50 PM
Updated: Feb 24, 2019 10:50 PM

A conservative activist reported he was attacked while recruiting students for Turning Point USA at UC Berkeley, according to campus police.

The University of California Police Department said in a statement that officers responded Tuesday afternoon to a "report of a disturbance" on upper Sproul Plaza, a center of student activity on campus, where they found the injured victim. An investigation is continuing, the university said Friday.

According to the police statement, the victim said that two men approached him, a verbal altercation ensued and he began recording the interaction on his phone.

One of the men "slapped the phone out of the victim's hand," police said. "The suspect then knocked over the table the victim was at and the two men struggled over the phone. During the incident, the suspect punched the victim several times causing injury to the victim's eye and nose."

Turning Point USA later identified the alleged victim to CNN as Hayden Williams, who had been invited to UC Berkeley to help recruit students for a yet-to-be-formed chapter on campus.

A media representative for Williams said he is a field representative for the Leadership Institute, an organization that helps train conservative leaders. Williams is not a UC Berkeley student, the representative said.

"The fact that the victim was not a campus affiliate has no bearing on this case. He had every right to be on campus, and every right to express his point of view," said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

Friday, the campus police department said in a statement it had identified a suspect and the department's information indicated "the suspect is not a student at, or affiliate of the University." The department did not release his name.

Violence was 'disheartening,' student says

Williams told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday that some students were upset by a sign he had displayed at his recruitment table that said, "Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims" -- apparently a reference to "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who has been accused of staging what he maintains was a hate crime against him.

"This person claimed we were promoting violence on campus and proceeded to take his aggression out on us," Williams told Hannity.

A short video recorded by a witness shows Williams and a man struggling before the man punches Williams in the face, knocking his hat off. The alleged suspect then gets close to Williams' face, calls him "racist," and shouts profanities before punching Williams again and walking away.

Williams told CNN he is fine but declined to answer other questions. He was treated at the scene, his media representative said.

Arda Erbil, the student who shot the footage provided to CNN, said he saw two men harassing Williams. As one of the men became physical, Erbil began to record video.

"Seeing something like that happen in such an open place was disheartening," he said.

UC Berkeley's chancellor and vice chancellor condemned the assault in a statement Thursday, calling it "reprehensible."

"That sort of behavior is intolerable and has no place here," the statement said. "Our commitment to freedom of expression and belief is unwavering."

The statement added that university officials have "no information indicating" the perpetrators are affiliated with UC Berkeley.

School has history of protests against conservatives

The incident illustrates the "hate and anger so many on the left harbor and that our student activists encounter on a daily basis," Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA's founder and president, said in a statement Thursday.

"Our amazing grassroots organizers courageously face threats of violence and discrimination as they fight for the right for conservative voices to be heard on college campuses," Kirk said, adding he was proud of how the group's student activists handled the situation.

UC Berkeley's campus has had a number of incidents in recent years involving the protesting of conservative commentators and personalities.

In 2017, a number of protests broke out ahead of speaking engagements by conservative commentators such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter. Neither of those events went forward.

Later that year, conservative radio host Ben Shapiro gave a talk as protesters swarmed outside. Nine people were arrested, but the protests appeared to be mostly peaceful.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42772

Reported Deaths: 1542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13697791
Ramsey5313234
Dakota275396
Stearns253619
Anoka2458111
Nobles16946
Washington130641
Olmsted130220
Mower9872
Scott8994
Rice8928
Clay62038
Kandiyohi5951
Blue Earth5862
Wright5475
Carver5002
Todd4042
Sherburne3725
Lyon3512
Freeborn3140
Watonwan2720
Steele2501
Benton2423
St. Louis23816
Nicollet20712
Martin1755
Winona15015
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1361
Crow Wing11512
Otter Tail1151
Pine1150
Chisago1111
McLeod1030
Dodge990
Carlton940
Polk903
Unassigned8838
Pipestone864
Isanti830
Murray830
Chippewa811
Waseca800
Itasca7612
Douglas740
Morrison691
Becker680
Meeker661
Faribault610
Jackson580
Sibley572
Beltrami550
Pennington540
Brown492
Wabasha430
Mille Lacs412
Renville373
Fillmore360
Rock350
Swift351
Grant320
Houston320
Yellow Medicine310
Roseau280
Lincoln250
Redwood250
Koochiching221
Wilkin223
Norman210
Cass202
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin160
Marshall160
Clearwater150
Mahnomen131
Pope130
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Lake90
Traverse70
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35534

Reported Deaths: 754
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7611185
Woodbury334944
Black Hawk253459
Buena Vista173811
Johnson14878
Dallas141531
Linn141083
Marshall110019
Scott109810
Dubuque100023
Story8778
Pottawattamie84113
Wapello71631
Muscatine69545
Crawford6813
Sioux5050
Tama48829
Webster4295
Wright3991
Louisa36713
Jasper35717
Plymouth3535
Warren3371
Cerro Gordo3291
Dickinson3073
Washington2559
Hamilton2041
Boone1751
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1391
Allamakee1384
Mahaska11917
Shelby1190
Carroll1171
Bremer1167
Franklin1130
Poweshiek1128
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1022
Emmet970
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion840
Floyd822
Guthrie814
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Butler702
Osceola690
Sac680
Jackson670
Buchanan651
Calhoun652
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Hancock621
Harrison620
Lyon610
Humboldt601
Fayette590
Delaware581
Madison562
Lee542
Mills530
Palo Alto530
Monroe527
Clayton503
Winneshiek500
Grundy470
Mitchell470
Winnebago440
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union430
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Chickasaw310
Greene310
Cass300
Worth270
Appanoose243
Keokuk241
Ida230
Page220
Van Buren211
Audubon181
Adair170
Ringgold161
Montgomery152
Decatur130
Fremont110
Wayne110
Adams80
Rochester
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Mason City
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 82°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
Charles City
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Slight Risk of Severe Storms Tuesday as a Cold Front approaches
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Getting Back to School physicals during the Pandemic

Image

'Cradle 2 Career' hosting discussion about race

Image

Dave's Main 6:30 Weather 7-14

Image

Sean's 10pm Weather 7/13

Image

Albert Lea council considers Covid response

Image

Rochester Police Policy Conversation

Image

Training the area's best basketball stars

Image

Pandemic Positive: A decline in air pollution

Image

Sen. Smith Highlights Health Inequalities

Image

School district weighs back to school options

Community Events