As the city of Berkeley concludes another day of protests that were a reaction to the cancellation of Anne Coulter’s speech at the local University of California, suspicions rise against the city’s new mayor Jesse Arreguin.
In the name of trying to keep as many citizens as possible from harm, Arreguin made efforts to suppress police intervention in a violent Anti-Trump riot on tax day. Arreguin claimed that police were being too aggressive, but critics believe that his obstructions were a hindrance to justice, as well as a testimony of extreme leftist support.
Officials define Arreguin’s responses to city violence as creating “deep discord between the Berkeley Police Department and the local government.” An anonymous source expressed distrust toward the mayor and accused him of fueling the dangerous movements at work in Berkeley:
“Mayor Arreguin is not representing all of Berkeley right now. He’s coming from a deep leftist position. We have some very radical elements on the police review commission. Jesse is emboldening them because he has a majority on the commission.”
Arreguin’s Facebook activity would suggest that the accusations against him are true. He follows the page of an extremist group called “By Any Means Necessary.” This coalition has taken militant action to support their causes and has violently protested against matters they don’t agree with. They do this in the name of protecting their rights, but critics point out an obvious disagreement between their claimed beliefs and actions. Their rights to believe have been twisted into an attempt to force others not to speak out.
Arreguin claims that he does not actually agree with BYAM, but that his intentions were to monitor their activity:
“On social media, following a particular account does not mean you support that group or individual. I was following this particular group so I could stay up to date on what they are up to. I condemn their violent actions in the strongest terms.”
A group at UC Berkeley had planned to have controversial conservative Ann Coulter speak at that campus, but the University called it off because of threats of violent protest from extremists like BAMN.
Former police commander Charles “Sid” Heal compares the protestors to “vigilantes” for their wild conclusions about the need to protect themselves. According to them, the law enforcement is not enough to defend their safety:
“We’ve been told they’re going to come no matter whether Ann Coulter comes or not, and the next riot is not a standalone in isolation but a natural consequence of the lackluster approach of the past.”
Citizens of Berkeley sent terrified letters to the Police Department in light of the coming event, expressing their insecurity and uncertainty of protection from the rampant violence. Coulter herself received phone calls to cancel, but was boldly resolved to make her appearance anyway. When UC made the cancellation official, she expressed her disapproval on Twitter:
Way to step in when we needed you, ACLU! https://t.co/437GRNH2zd
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 27, 2017
The mayor seems almost passive in his defense of the city, stating merely that harmful protestors will be arrested no matter what their political backgrounds. In a positive light, however, he did want to stand for the free speech and protest right of the students:
“I fundamentally disagree with everything someone like Ann Coulter stands for, but in an open society, she has a right to speak, and students and community members have a right to peacefully protest her.”
Heal agrees with Arreguin in this aspect, but stands in favor of a more proactive approach to the extremists. Even though the speech is off he believes and is preparing for the worst:
“It’s not going to make any difference if she cancels at this point. The extremists are going to come here. It’s terrifying.”
Most can agree that more needs to be done to dissolve the deep veins of violence in the City of Berkeley. In less than three months, at least three free speech protests at the University have ended in violence. The city is tallying their losses – up to 39 injuries, 34 arrests, and over $100,000 in property damage.
Credit: Fox News