As Berkeley, California, becomes ground zero in the free speech battle between left and right, its hard left-wing mayor is prompting calls for investigations into why he’s ordered his police force to stand down while riots break out in the city’s streets.
Mayor Jesse Arreguin has been accused by many as giving stand down orders to police so conservative marchers at local rallies can be attacked by anarchist groups like Antifa.
In the most recent incident on April 15, a pro-Trump rally organized by a group called the Liberty Revival Alliance came under attack by Antifa thugs with pepper spray, fireworks, bike locks and in one case, brass knuckles.
The pro-Trump march was held in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. Although plenty of police were on hand, once the fighting broke out in late morning, it was apparent they were not going to intervene immediately.
When Trump supporters asked why police were not responding, police allegedly said that were ordered by “higher ups” to stand down.
Both Mayor Arreguin and Police Chief Andrew Greenwood were complimentary of how the police handled the April 15 incident, with Greenwood saying about his force, “Our people did exactly what we asked.”
This latest riot, coupled with the outbreak that occurred on February 1 when gay conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos tried to speak at the University of California but was shut down, has prompted federal authorities to take a closer look at how police are handling these situations.
Some have called for the FBI to investigate the mayor for inciting riots and telling police to stand down in the face of outbreaks of violence at public events.
Recent news reports have linked Mayor Arreguin to both Antifa and another radical group called BAMN. While he has denied support for the organizations, links on social media are very apparent.
Tensions remain high in Berkeley as conservative author Ann Coulter has tried to set up a speaking engagement at the university but been repeatedly thwarted by treats of violence if she appears.
It’s ironic that the campus that was home to the Free Speech Movement in the mid-1960’s is now gaining an international reputation as a haven for intolerance against conservative views and a fascistic effort to squash the free expression of ideas.