Posted by on January 16, 2018
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Categories: Bay Area

Four people who attended a speaking event in Berkeley featuring
the controversial right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos that turned
violent last February have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the
University of California and the city of Berkeley.

Plaintiffs John Jennings, Katrina Redelsheimer, Trever Hatch and
Donald Fletcher argue that their Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by
university officials and police who exposed them to the “unlawful actions of
an angry mob of violent anarchists” when officers retreated from the scene on
Feb. 1.

The Fourteenth Amendment states that the government shall not
deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process and that
any person in its jurisdiction shall not be denied equal protection under the
law.

The lawsuit argues that the plaintiffs were denied their rights to
due process and equal protection when law enforcement vacated the areas
around Sproul Plaza and the MLK Center, where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to
speak, regrouping nearby in a position where they could “ensure their own
safety while leaving plaintiffs exposed to violent assaults.”

“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 indifference to the plaintiffs’
safety, permitting hordes of violent rioters to swarm the university campus
in a violent rage,” the lawsuit states.

The suit says that police, university and city officials should
have been better prepared to contain and mitigate violence associated with
the event.

It names the regents of the University of California, UC president
Janet Napolitano, current UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ and former
chancellor Nicholas Dirks, interim vice chancellor of student affairs Stephen
Sutton, associate vice chancellor and dean of students Joseph Greenwell,
campus police Chief Margot Bennett, various other employees of the campus
Police Department, the city of Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Department,
as well as the city of Berkeley itself.

University spokesman Dan Mogulof declined to comment on the
lawsuit this afternoon, saying that while the suit may have been filed, it
has not yet been served to the defendants.

Once that happens, university officials plan to issue a public
response, according to Mogulof.