Lawsuit Filed Against UC Berkeley, Police, City and Members of Antifa Over Violent 2017 Riot
Four victims of the brutal violence committed by Antifa during the riot in Berkeley last February over Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled speaking event have filed a lawsuit against the university, the city, the police, and two of the black clad rioters that they were able to identify.
The lawsuit names UC Berkeley, UCPD, Berkeley PD, the city of Berkeley, two of the assailants that they were able to identify — Ian Dabney Miller and Raha Mirabdal, President of the University of California Janet Napolitano and others for violating their constitutional and statutory rights during the riot in February, 2017.
“By their failure to intervene or employ reasonable tactical methods to ensure the safety of the Plaintiffs and the public, government actors conducted their official duties with deliberate indifference to the Plaintiffs’ safety, permitting hordes of violent rioters to swarm the university campus in a violent rage. By their failure, government actors are thus responsible for creating and exposing Plaintiffs to known and obvious danger,” the lawsuit states.
During the riot, Antifa caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to the MLK Student Union and toppled a mobile light structure, setting its generator on fire. The city estimates that the rioters caused between $400,000 and $500,000 in damage to the area surrounding the university.
One of the victims, John Jennings was brutally attacked by a masked man who struck him in the temple with a stick during the mayhem. His wife, Katrina Redelsheimer, rushed to his aid and they were both attacked by a mob of five of six people who pushed Jennings to the ground and began kicking him. The mob of black-clad rioters then began attacking the couple with pepper spray and sticks, leaving them with severe injuries including concussions, broken ribs and burn welts on the skin from the chemical irritants.
Miller, the first assailant who is named, is an employee of UC Berkeley and member of the communist political group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). He was identified after tweeting a photo of himself standing over Jennings captioned with “hey come get your boy. He got ROCKED #miloatcal.”
Miller continued to brag about the assault on social media, tweeting “…body punches and then i [sic] take him down to the ground. Some good Samaritans come and pull me off of him and, as always happens in these cases, *i* take a couple of weak shots to the face.” He added that it was “worth it” and that he will “never forget that dude falling over the bike wheel.”
The second rioter who was named in the suit, Mirabdal, is a nurse at Oakland Children’s Hospital as well as a member of BAMN. She was identified after she attacked a man at a subsequent rally in Berkeley, but was never charged over her involvement in the February riot.
In 2005, BAMN was identified by the FBI as “thought to be involved in terrorist activities.”
According to the lawsuit, Mirabdal “participated in, abetted, encouraged, and aided the violent battery upon Plaintiffs Jennings and Redelsheimer. Further, Defendant Mirabdal assaulted Plaintiff Jennings by attempting to batter him after he had been beaten unconscious and was lying defenseless on the ground.”
Trevor Hatch, another of the plaintiffs in the case, was wearing his ‘Make America Great Again’ hat as he entered the campus along with his group of friends that included Jennings and Redelsheimer. As he entered the plaza, he noticed the giant mob and a tree that was on fire — but could not spot a single member of law enforcement.
As Hatch and his friends made their way over to the student center for the event, they were approached and surrounded by a group of anarchists in black bloc attire.
Hatch “observed one of the demonstrators strike Plaintiff Redelsheimer with a flagpole. Then, without notice or provocation, a demonstrator hit him with pepper spray directly in his eyes. Plaintiff Hatch ripped off his glasses and with eyes burning was instantly blinded. He experienced intense burning to his face and eyes. As he leaned over a barricade, he took blows from someone hitting him in the back with a flagpole. He managed to climb over a barricade, but was trapped in between barricades configured to form a triangle,” the lawsuit states.
As Hatch began screaming for help, trapped between the barriers and blinded, he was luckily assisted by good samaritans — as police were nowhere to be found. The lawsuit claims that the attack would never have taken place if police officers had been positioned along the barricaded parameter.
The fourth plaintiff, Donald Fletcher, was at a bar with friends when he learned that the event had been cancelled. As they exited the establishment to see what was going on, they were ambushed by the anarchist rioters. He was severely beaten to the point where he was left unconscious in the middle of the road. The lawsuit claims there was absolutely no police presence on Bancroft Road where the attack took place.
The lawsuit explains that the city, university and the police department had ample time and warning of a potential riot to plan a crowd management policy. Instead, as attendees arrived at the event to hear Yiannopoulos speak, they saw “paramilitary-style protesters” that were “in possession of dangerous and deadly weapons, including combat knives, ‘blackjacks,’ wooden poles, shields made out of plastic, wood, and metal and pepper spray,” and police had retreated.
“The mob of paramilitary-style protesters performed their unlawful activity with the intent to cause death, great bodily harm and/or mayhem so as to oppress Trump and Yiannopolous supporters on account of their actual and/or perceived political beliefs, deny them their rights to peaceably assemble as protected by the California and U.S. Constitutions, prevent Plaintiffs’ and others’ participation in public political discourses protected by the California and U.S. Constitutions, and to generally act in an unlawful manner to oppress and suppress their political opponents,” the lawsuit asserts.
The 47-page filing details how at 6:01 p.m., the rioters began lobbing fireworks or small bombs at the UC Berkeley Police officers who were situated on the balcony of the MLK Student Center. One minute later, several people tore down the double-barricades and stormed the building.
“By 6:25 p.m., they had broken windows and set a diesel generator on fire. For more than an hour, the protesters ignored numerous dispersal orders by the UCPD. By 8:00 p.m., the mob had moved to nearby commercial establishments breaking the windows of a Chase Bank and shattering the doors of a Bank of America branch,” the lawsuit explains.
The suit goes on to claim that by failing to consider access routes, abandoning the chaos and by erecting double barricades, the attendees were left vulnerable to assault and trapped in Sproul Plaza without a means to escape by the police as the exits were blocked by the anarchist demonstrators. It notes that “the on-scene police, including Defendants UCPD and UCPD DOES, made multiple feckless attempts to disperse the crowd with hollow threats of arrest and detentions, which only intensified the mayhem.”
“Plaintiffs and others entering Sproul Plaza became sitting ducks, unaware that Defendants UCPD and UCPD DOES had abandoned their tactical positions within the plaza,” the suit states. “On information and belief, the decision by Defendants UCPD and UCPD DOES to withdraw into MLK Center where they could only observe the mayhem but take no direct action to intervene was a conscious and affirmative decision to stand down.”
The suit acknowledges that the police were “outmanned by the marauding horde of violent anarchists,” but states that they wouldn’t have been if they had taken the threat level as indicated by social media warnings and correspondence to the university seriously.
The plaintiffs hope that discovery in the case will help them to identify more of their attackers to be added to the lawsuit. They are seeking damages and relief for two violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, a violation of Ralph Act, a violation of Bane Act, civil battery and conspiracy, negligence, premises liability; negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
“This case is important because the plaintiffs here represent only a tiny fraction of those who have been subjected to political violence in the last few years. That’s not how America is meant to operate, and I hope this lawsuit can serve as a wake-up call to both institutions like UC Berkeley and the culture at large to reverse this terrifying trend before it’s too late,” Redelsheimer told the Gateway Pundit.
When asked by GWP if she believes the reason for police inaction during the event was political, Redelsheimer said that it is hard to imagine there being any other motive.
“It’s hard to imagine any motivation besides a political one for the police to stand down the way they did, given Berkeley’s long history of protests and the police policies and training in how to deal with protests effectively,” she said. “The dishonest denials by the University and attempts to cover up and minimize what happened and continues to happen on their campus are disturbing and frankly dangerous not just to free speech but the physical safety of students. It certainly seems political from where I’m sitting. We’ll learn more in discovery.”