Lawsuit Filed Against UC Berkeley for Negligence in Handling of 2017 Riots

On January 11, 2018, a lawsuit was filed against UC Berkeley by four individuals who were attacked during the riot that broke out on the university’s campus in February of last year.

According to the official complaint, the Plaintiffs are suing “for compensatory, punitive, equitable and injunctive relief following the many violations of constitutional and statutory rights” while on the university’s campus.

The first in a series of protests at UC Berkeley broke out on February 1st in response to a speech scheduled to be given by Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos at 8:00 pm that evening. Prior to the speech, over 100 UC Berkeley faculty members signed a petition urging the university to cancel Yiannopoulos’ speech, but the petition was set aside. A crowd cresting 1,500 gathered to protest the event, among them Antifa and By Any Means Necessary activists, who set fires, threw rocks at the police, destroyed property, and attacked members of the crowd.

Within twenty minutes of the start of all this, the Yiannopoulos event was officially canceled and protesters ordered to disperse, but the violence and destruction continued for hours afterward. The police did not repeat the dispersal orders, nor did they enforce them.

Three of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit – Katrina Redelsheimer, John Jennings, and Trever Hatch – attended the Yiannopoulos event along with Kiara Robles, who, last year, sued UC Berkeley for $23 million after she was assaulted while talking to a reporter from ABC7. The fourth plaintiff, Donald Fletcher, who attended the event with another group, was filmed face-down in the street as he was struck with shovels by rioters.

Redelsheimer, Jennings, Hatch, and Fletcher jointly filed a complaint against the university, the university’s Police Department, Berkeley Police Department, the city of Berkeley, and two individuals they have identified as their assailants: Ian Dabney Miller, an employee of UC Berkeley who confessed on social media to beating Jennings unconscious, but was never arrested despite this confession; and Raha Mirabdal, a nurse at Oakland Children’s Hospital who was arrested for her assault of a man at a subsequent rally in Berkeley.

The defendants, the complaint asserts, agitated the mob by “issuing feckless disbursal orders and empty threats of arrest from a vantage point 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 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.”

Below is an interview YouTuber and podcaster Stefan Molyneux conducted with Redelsheimer days after the riot.

 

The defendants were served the complaint on Monday morning.

“One thing I think people don’t realize is the extent to which university resources were used to plan and carry out the attacks,” Redelsheimer said. “The university has done absolutely nothing since to change that, or to discipline the known individuals [students and staff] or student and off-campus groups […] that orchestrated the riot.”

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